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Into the Snarkiverse


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The problem with storifying a career game is that sometimes the game part doesn't co-operate. Right now I want to focus on Duna and work up to sending a crewed mission out there, but the last Duna window has very much closed and the next one is almost two years away; now, I could just ignore the in-game time, skip ahead that far and do the Duna mission, but that feels cheaty and is wasting valuable time which could be put to use launching more interplanetary probes, landers and even rovers elsewhere.

I was going to do the next report, but it's too late in the day for that (after 11pm here) so I'll do it tomorrow.

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Gene: Any data back from the Duna mission yet?

Wernher: Not yet. I might have an idea that could fix that though- just launch a series of relays into solar orbit between Kerbin and Duna and it should give us much better communications across the entire system.

Gene: What's the catch?

Wernher: It'll take over a year for them all to be deployed.

Bobak: Why not just launch a relay straight at Duna?

Wernher: It's behind us now- trying to cut the corner would take far more fuel than doing it at the proper transfer window.

Gene: I like the small relay idea better, it'll work for other planets too.

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Mortimer: And now that you're finished spending all our funds, you can start replacing them. Here's some contracts, get on with it.

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Wernher: Who leaves a full fuel tank in orbit!?

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Bobak: Mountains!

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Bobak: *phew* That was close!

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Val: Woah- Kerbin, the Mun and Minmus in the same picture!

Wernher: Where?

Val: See that weird circle to the right of the sun? That's Kerbin; the grey thing directly between it and the sun is the Mun.

Jeb: And Minmus is right in the middle above the horizon.

Wernher: I checked the numbers for the Duna Scanner and we have two options: either we leave it in orbit for nearly two years and then send it to Duna at the next transfer window, or we go now and take a really slow route which will use up basically all of its fuel.

Gene: What's the downsides to waiting?

Wernher: Part degradation mostly- two years in orbit before it even leaves Kerbin orbit means it's more likely to have part failures during its mission, plus the fuel tank cooling system isn't working optimally so the liquid hydrogen is slowly boiling off. We might not have the fuel left in two years to make the trip at this rate.

Gene: And if we go now?

Wernher: The fuel margins are razor thin, if we need to correct the course during the trip we might not get the orbit we need around Duna to do the scans- never mind trying to reach Pol or Bop.

Gene: I say we go now, while the spacecraft is still in good condition. We can always send a second craft when the next window opens up, but it would be good to get some data back from Duna as soon as possible.

Bobak: Plus the scanner has a relay dish on it that should be able to reach back to Kerbin from Duna and return the data from Dunashot 1.

Wernher: I thought we called it Sunshot 3?

Bobak: Well it's Dunashot 1 now :P 

Wernher: ...OK then. Trajectory plotted, executing transfer burn in 3, 2, 1-

*fzzt*

Wernher: ...mulch.

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Bobak: Total engine failure on the first ignition? Ouch...

Mortimer: So that really expensive probe is useless because of one engine failure? :mad:

Bill: Hey, why don't we grab it with a part grabber probe and bring it back down?

Mortimer: At last, someone who talks sense.

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Val: That's never gonna work.

Bill: Why not?

Val: That rocket is full of fuel. The weight balance is all wrong, it'll flip as soon as it hits the lower atmosphere.

Bill: No it won't, we've got it grappled right through the centre of mass, everything will be-

*snap*

*EXPLOSIONS!*

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Mortimer: ;.; all those funds, gone...

Bill: Not all of them- some bits survived!

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Val: And the grabber too, though it's waaay further back.

Wernher: Maybe having the full weight of both craft pivoting on that orbital scanning telescope was a bad idea...

Mortimer: Right, that's it! All of you are on contract duty until you've paid off the price of that probe.

Everyone: :rolleyes:

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Mortimer: You did that "use a station for a rescue mission" thing again? Nice.

Wernher: Now that that's over with, who wants to go out to the Mun and fix that bodged satellite from that repair contract a while ago? The one with the gravity scanner on it that isn't working properly because the signal's terrible and it can't send the data down quickly enough.

*silence*

Jeb: *cough* send the newbies *cough*

Gene: Actually, that's a good idea. They'll get more experience with an EVA around the Mun than they will sitting around the Astronaut Complex rec room playing computer games all day.

Jeb: Why did you look at me when you said that?

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Mauwig: Satellite acquired, proceeding with upgrades.

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Wernher: Very good, the data is coming back much faster now.

Gene: Nice work, now bring it home and try not to overshoot the KSC.

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Gene: You did hear the part where I said not to overshoot the KSC, right?

Dunmon: Oops...

Gene: *sigh* Deploying the recovery teams...

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Mauwig: Ow! Dunmon, what sort of landing was that?

Dunmon: *too busy using the sick bag to answer*

Spoiler

Linus: *bursts in* Why haven't we heard anything back from Duna yet!?

Wernher: There's no signal-

Linus: *grabs Wernher by his lapels* WHY NOT!?!?

Wernher: meep

Gene: *psst* Val, do your thing with the dart gun.

Val: Nah, I wanna see how this goes.

Gene: What???

Linus: *lifts Wernher into the air by his lapels* WE MUST FIND IT! OUR SURVIVAL DEPENDS ON IT!!!

Val: Hey Linus?

Linus: WHAT?

Val: What's out at Duna that you want to see?

Linus: YOU FOOL! IT'S THE- the, um, er, the... *confused blinking*

Val:  Why don't you put your boss down and we can talk things over, hmm?

Linus: That sounds nice, actually. *puts Wernher down* Sorry boss, I don't know what came over me.

Everyone: :o

*Val and Linus leave*

Gene: I wasn't expecting that.

Bobak: How did she do that?

Val: *enters from a door on the other side of the Mission Control room* Hey guys, what did I miss?

Everyone: *stares uncomprehendingly at Val*

Val: What?

Edited by jimmymcgoochie
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Gene: Welcome, one and all, to the first Kerbal Space Program anniversary party! It's amazing to think how far we've come in the last 426 days, all the new discoveries blah blah blah yada yada I HEREBY DECLARE THE BUFFET OPEN!

Everyone: WOO! BUFFET!

*many days later*

Gene: I thought we banned Linus from bringing his homebrew to our parties?

Mortimer: So did I- wait, what's this? "Duna Relay" for how much!?

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Wernher: So that actually happened? I thought that was a dream. Or a homebrew-induced hallucination...

Bobak: Looks like it's going to Duna the long way around, almost a year before it arrives.

Mortimer: And what's this!?

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Wernher: Don't look at me, I have no idea what that is.

(Random R&D intern: Hey, they launched my probe! :D)

Linus: *anguished wailing*

Wernher: What's going on?

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Linus: My babies! ;.;

Wernher: ...

Gene: But they still work, right?

Wernher: And the Dres rover had finished its seismic scanning mission, and the Mun rover has scanned everything it can with that arm anyway.

Gene: Let it go, Linus. They're just robots.

Linus: *sniffle* I... I suppose so.

Mun Station: Hey, Mission Control? We're all getting really irradiated up here and we don't like it. At all. Can we come home now?

Gene: *off mic* Those guys are still up there? *on mic* Copy that, Mun Station. You're cleared to undock and return to Kerbin.

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Wernher: I think it's clear that a permanent crewed mission on or around the Mun just isn't feasible. The Mun's orbit brings it through Kerbin's outer radiation belt every two days and the risk to the crews is too great.

Gene: Agreed. Which does leave the question, what do we do with the Mun Station?

Wernher: Leave it where it is- it can't move by itself and we might be able to come up with a solution to the radiation problem in the future.

Val: You want me to fly what?

Bob: It's a submarine, but it's also a plane.

Val: ...

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Val: *sonar noises*

Bob: Val, you do realise that you're doing that out loud?

Val: Yeah, so?

Bob: ...

Val: So it barely works as a submarine, maybe it'll do better as a plane?

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Val: Nope, flies like a fridge too. And now I'm out of fuel. INCOMING!

*crash*

Val: Whoopsie! I think I scraped off some of the ballast tanks on the back. But considering how terribly that thing flew, that's a win in my book.

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Bill: Mission Control, this is Assembly Station. The Moho scanner is completed, now can we come back down? This sardine can is starting to smell really bad.

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Bob: Taxi for four, coming up.

Wernher: Moho window is coming up, we need to start the periapsis kicks well in advance and watch out for the atmosphere on the final escape burn.

Bobak: You mean an apoapsis kick? :huh:

Wernher: Well, yes.

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Gene: And that's that mission away. Course correction plotted, nice work everyone.

Val: You cannot be serious!

Bob: What?

Val: It looks like some kind of plane-wasp hybrid- and not in a good way.

Bob: Hey, that's a good idea. I'll call it "The Aero-Bee".

Val: Pretty sure that's already taken.

Bob: Eh?

Val: And it's called "Rover Drop Plane" in the flight computer so too late.

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Bob: Easy on the backflips, Val!

Val: I would if this thing wasn't so horribly unstable! What were you thinking!?

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Val: Approaching the south pole, standing by to drop this rover... 3, 2, 1, yeet!

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Bob: Parachutes deployed, altitude decreasing steadily and... touchdown confirmed.

Val: Great. Now I'm going home. Wow, this thing flies MUCH better without that hideously unaerodynamic fairing and the heavy rover hanging off the back...

Bob: It worked, didn't it? Hey, where are you going?

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Val: I thought about going back to Mahi Mahi, but there's no runway there so I just flew back to the Dessert Airfield instead.

Gene: Is that really a good idea, after what happened to you there a year ago?

Quote

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Val: Gee, thanks for reminding me while I'm on final approach!

Bob: Uh oh...

Val: Just kidding. Easy peasy, plus a free science experiment from the runway to add to the collection. Pity you didn't add a bigger hard drive to this thing, that WING thingy had nowhere to put its data the whole way back from the antarktic.

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 Bob: We can just send the plane out again to-

Val: Nope. Nope nope nope nope

Bob: Val? Hello?

Spoiler

Valmal: Azimuth Station here, we might need to rotate the crew sooner than planned.

Gene: Why?

Valmal: Well, everyone was feeling a bit left out of the party going on down there so I made some party food to cheer them up.

Gene: And?

Valmal: And, all I had to work with was dried rations and SpaceKaleTM, which apparently are even worse together than they are apart.

Azimuth Station crew: *violent retching sounds*

Valmal: Hey! Puke in your own helmet Lensel!

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Wernher: So these atmospheric science things...

Gene: Yeah?

Wernher: Well, we need more data from them. A lot more.

Mortimer: *sigh* Well, at least we get the funds back when we return the plane. Just don't let that maniac Jeb fly it.

Gene: Nah, Val's doing this one with Herman.

Wernher: Why Herman? He's an engineer.

Gene: To repack the parachutes.

Wernher: Parachutes? On a plane?

Gene: It was Bob's idea.

Bob: Yeah, in case they need to land in places where a normal landing isn't practical.

*later*

Herman: *boards plane* Hey Val, I'm your flight engineer for today's- wait a second!

Jeb: Too late! *punches it*

Herman: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA-

Jeb: And that's how you do a "combat takeoff", everybody.

Herman: At least let me get in the seat next time, you maniac!

Gene: JEB YOU *quindar* *quindar* ABSOLUTELY *quindar*

Jeb: Sorry, can't hear you over all those beeping noises. Ooh, pyramids!

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Jeb: Prepare for a parachute landing!

Herman: meep

*fwumph*

Herman: don't throw up don't throw up don't throw up...

Jeb: Touchdown! *retracts gear* some idiot forgot the ladder, but oh well. Hope the paint on the belly is sand-proof.

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Jeb: It's a lot bigger than it looked from further away.

Herman: Yes, Jeb, that's how distance works.

Jeb: ...whatever. 

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Jeb: ...did you just put the gear down again so I can't get in?

Herman: No?

Jeb: I can clearly see that you did. Very funny, but unless you can fly a plane- and I know for a fact that you can't- you need to let me back in so we can go home before that creepy looking giant statue comes to life or something.

Herman: This isn't some stupid action film, Jeb, statues don't come to life-

*ominous rumbling*

WHO DARES DISTURB MY SLUMBER?

Herman: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!

Jeb: RAISE THE GEAR! LET ME IN!

Herman: IT'S UP ALREADY LET'S GET OUT OF HERE!

 

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Jeb: Phew, that was close!

Herman: *breathing into paper bag*

Val: Mwahahahaha! You should have seen your faces?

Jeb: Wha- :mad: that was you!?

Val: Me and a little voice distortion thingy Bob found buried in an R&D storeroom. DID YOU LIKE IT?

Jeb: ...shut up.

Gene: When you're all finished acting like  *quindar* can we get back to the real purpose of this mission?

Jeb: Yeah, about that- this plane can't go supersonic.

Wernher: Why not?

Jeb: Dunno, I'm giving it full thrust but it just isn't accelerating any further. Stupid Mk2 parts and their stupid draggy body-lift. Returning to base with the science we got. Ooh, windmills!

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Gene: Jeb, this is not a *quindar* sightseeing tour! And who's playing with the *quindar* quindar buttons!?

Wernher: Sorry, that was me- I rigged KerbNet up to bleep out anything that we don't want to include in the official transcripts.

Herman: Where are you going!?

Gene: What's Jeb up to now?

Herman: He just parked the plane at the end of the runway, ran over to a bunch of yellow KSC trucks parked over there and drove off in one shouting "so long, suckers!" behind him.

Gene: *SO MUCH QUINDAR*

Spoiler

While everyone else was trying to calm Gene down, Val rolled out of the Spaceplane Hangar in the same plane she had flown just a couple of days earlier- but instead of a bulbous fairing containing a rover, this time it was fitted with a new and super-secret detector developed by Linus. After verifying it was working on the runway, she took off and headed north: theoretically this was another science-gathering flight, but in reality this mission was searching for something far more elusive...

Spoiler

THE RANDOLITH

Val: Approaching target one, I've got a solid lock with the BTDT and its position is- hmm, right in the middle of a massive hole surrounded by mountains on all sides. No way I can land there, but I'll snap some pictures on my way past.

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Linus: Excellent work. Proceed to the next target.

Val: Target two is really close to this one, actually- on the top of that ridge in the foothills. I'll try landing in that valley and taxiing up to it from there.

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Linus: Be careful.

Val: I will, but this is a pretty easy landing. A dab of throttle to get up the hill and- woah...

Linus: What?

Val: It's... it's...

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Val: GREEN! And kind of pulsing too, and it's almost like it emits a sound but I'm not really hearing it so much as feeling it, you know?

Linus: I have no idea what you're talking about, but you will not believe what I just thought of.

Val: What?

Linus: Fuel tanks! Absolutely monstrously large fuel tanks! And I know how to make them all!

Val: Yay? Anyways, I'll leave a flag here- transponder cloaked, of course- so we can find this thing again if we need to.

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Val: Heading to the next target now, but I've just realised that I'll fly right past North Station One on my way there.

Linus: And? This is a science mission after all, they won't care.

Val: But it took a lot longer than usual to fly out here, won't they think that's weird?

Linus: Probably not, but just to make sure why don't you fly a circle over it or something like you're "doing science"?

Val: Good idea.

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Val: How did they even get that thing up there?

Linus: I... actually don't know, I've never really thought about it. Some of the other DSN stations are even higher up though, this one's pretty tame in comparison.

Val: Target three spotted, and it's a doozy.

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Linus: The lighting's not that great, maybe the sun will move around it if we wait a while?

Val: Easy for you to say, you're not the one standing in the arktic for hours...

*a few hours later*

Val: Nope, the sun just went down instead. This thing's not that close to the poles so it still gets dark here. I'm coming back.

Linus: Worth a try...

Val: Huh, I've got another possible target in the Whoopstooshort Mountains, might be worth a look.

Linus: Val, it's dark. How are you going to land a plane, in the mountains, at night?

Val: Like this.

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Linus: Are you... reversing!?

Val: Yeah, it's a lot more stable this way- the engines control the speed better than brakes and it's more stable with the wider gear going first. Just a little bit further, down this really steep mountain face and, almost...

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Val: There! Whoever put this thing there was either a moron, a maniac, a masochist or just yeeted it at the ground from space or something. How is anyone supposed to get to this thing? It'd be really hard to see in daylight too, all camouflaged against the rocks.

Linus: Can you please stop talking and start moving off the horribly steep rock face before you fall and smash your plane up on the side of a mountain?

Val: You're no fun at all, Linus. Not every day you get to hurl yourself off the side of a mountain in a plane though.

Linus: Wait, what?

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Val: And another safe landing! Here you go Werhner, some more tubes full of air to add to your collection. Dunno what you're doing with them though considering you have all *this* air around you to play with...

Wernher: Uh, thanks?

Bobak: Was she out on a mission? I don't remember seeing her leave.

Spoiler

Val: You're probably wondering why I've asked you all here.

Sanlan: Not really.

Gervin: I am.

Lensel: Me too.

Val: I have a cunning plan, you see, and I need your help to make it happen.

*pulls cover off display table in an unnecessarily dramatic fashion*

Val: Ta-da!

Sanlan: Woah!

Gervin: Nice.

Lensel: I don't get it.

Ribdo: Secret meeting? Cool!

Gervin: Yeah- SECRET meeting. *scowl*

Val: Don't mind her, you're allowed in. So, what do you think?

Ribdo: I call dibs on the purple!

Lensel: Hey, I wanted the purple!

Val: You can both have purple! Now I need you guys to get everyone in the Corps in here before tomorrow morning so we can surprise everyone. I even snuck some "supplies" into the most recent run up to Azimuth Space Station so they can join in the fun.

Sanlan: Even Jeb?

Val: Nah, Jeb's lost in the desert or something, we'll deal with him when the search and rescue teams find him. But make sure you bring Bobak along because, well, take a look at *this*.

Everyone: :o

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Gene: *blinking* I'm sure there's something different here today, but I need more coffee to try and figure out what it is. Status report?

Wernher: Mohoshot 2 is performing its flybys of Gilly as expected, the data coming back looks very good- as do the images from the cameras.

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Linus: Trajectory looks good, we're go for nudge burn in 3, 2, 1... done.

Gene: Nudge burn?

Wernher: The probe was on a collision course with Gilly on the next flyby, so we've given it a tiny nudge to move it into position to capture into orbit.

Gene: Nice work. I need more coffee, back in a minute.

*one minute :huh: later*

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Wernher: And that's a stable orbit around Gilly confirmed.

Gene: *confused blinking* Was I really gone that long? *shrug* So what's next?

Linus: Landing.

Gene: Landing? With what?

Linus: You might wish you hadn't asked.

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Mortimer: Ooh, nice, another one for the fridge magnet collection in the gift shop. Between that and the bonus money those "World Firsts" chumps keep giving us every time we do anything at all, our finances are in great shape.

Wernher: Well, they're about to get even better.

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Val: You landed on the NERV's nozzle? You guys are nuts.

Gene: You were right- I really didn't want to know.

Wernher: We can do a couple of little hops to reach the other biomes, it won't take much fuel.

*alarm noises*

Gene: What was that!?

Wernher: Just the alarm I set to remember to check on the Moho Scanner as it approaches Moho. It's ready to begin its capture burn any second now.

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Gene: *squints at screen* Is it just me or is it not slowing down?

Wernher: It's slowing down, but it needs to slow down by over 6 kilometres per second so it's going to take a while.

Gene: Coffee. I need more coffee.

*one coffee break later*

Gene: *utterly bewildered* What?

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Linus: Eve Scanner is positioning itself into orbit of Eve, relays are go for deployment.

Gene: But what about the Moho Scanner!?

Wernher: Oh, that captured into orbit ages ago. See?

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Gene: But but but HOW!? I went to get coffee and-

Bobak: Gene, that was weeks ago. You're clearly having some kind of stress-induced breakdown.

Gene: But... I was just... there...

Val: Hey Gene? Come see this, you're going to like it.

Gene: But...

*meanwhile*

Valmal: Hey team! Do you know what time it is?

Azimuth Space Station crew: ...

Valmal: It's SpaceKaleTM time! Another fresh batch of delicious-

*scuffling sounds*

Valmal: Hey, get off me! How did you get scissors on this station? What are you- no. No! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO-!

*and back at KSC*

Gene: Do I really need the blindfold?

Val: Yes. Mind the step.

Gene: This better be good-

EVERYONE: SURPRIIIIIIIISE!!!

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Gene: :o

Val: Val to Azimuth, how's it looking up there?

Azimuth Station crew: All good here. Even Valmal has calmed down now and grudgingly admits that her new haircut is "maybe kinda nice, actually".

Gene: But what's all this for?

Val: The new hairdos? That was just a distraction- THIS is the real surprise!

*gives Gene envelope*

Gene: *looks in envelope* Tickets to- no way! AND a fancy hotel, AND a spa day, AND wine tasting, AND I don't have to put up with Jeb for two whole weeks? I... I don't know what to say...

Val: We all know you've been putting in far too many hours at work, never taking any time off or even sitting down half the time.

Bob: You've done so much for all of us; now it's our turn to do something for you.

Bill: Let's hear it for Gene, everybody!

*much cheering and whooping*

Bobak: Hey boss?

Gene: Yeah?

Bobak: *takes off hat to reveal mohawk*

Gene: :o

Spoiler

Full album: https://imgur.com/a/18MiXQW

And that's all for now! I'll be back in a week or so to continue the series but until then I won't have a KSP-capable computer.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Bill: *walks into simulator room* Hey Bob, what'cha doing?

Bob: Trying to make a Laythe plane.

Wernher: Did someone just say "Laythe plane"?

Bill: It's pronounced "Laythe", not "Laythe".

Bob: Uh, no it isn't! It's "Laythe"!

Wernher: It's definitely "Laythe".

Bob: Aaanyway, so far it's not going particularly well.

Bill: Why not? It looks OK to me.

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Bob: Getting it to fly is easy enough, but it also needs to be able to land on water and take off again and that's proving to be... challenging.

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Wernher: Ouch.

Bob: And then every now and again the simulator software glitches and does stuff like this:

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Mortimer: Hey science-y people! I need a "base" with 5 seats on it to put on the Mun- preferably so it can come back and we can get refunded for most of the part costs.

Bill: We could use the transfer stage as an impactor to get readings for that deployed seismometer while we're at it.

*one very fast Mun transfer later*

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Bob: Transfer stage impact in 3, 2, 1...

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Bill: Huh.

Wernher: What?

Bill: No data received. Maybe it's in the dark and has no power?

Mortimer: *sigh*

Bob: Ready to begin base deorbit and landing procedure.

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Bill: OK, so maybe using that solid booster as a transfer stage wasn't the best idea ever...

Mortimer: What now?

Bob: There's not enough fuel left to make it back into orbit of the Mun, never mind back to Kerbin.

Mortimer: *eye twitch*

Bill: Might as well use it as a seismic impactor, we have just enough fuel to crash it beside the deployed science site and it's definitely in daylight now.

Mortimer: *more eye twitching*

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Bill: We're going to hit pretty close to the site, it's just over there in that trio of craters on the right.

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Bill: What, still nothing?

Bob: Looks like we got... 0.48 percent? Boo.

Mortimer: That's it- no more "seismic impactors"! I'm not about to let you waste all our funds crashing stuff into the Mun.

*plane noises*

Mortimer: What did I just say!?

Bill: This isn't going to the Mun though- it's going to Jool!

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Mortimer: ...you spent HOW MUCH on that thing!?

Bob: Oh, come on, Morty, it's got ALL THE SCIENCE on it; it's a long term investment that'll pay for itself several times over with all the data we'll get- and all the contracts that'll come in to explore Jool and its moons.

Mortimer: Fine. But no more frivolous nonsense, you hear? Bad enough that we're forking out half of all our income to pay for those offsite labs and *grumble grumble etc.*

*later*

It's everybody's favourite time again- Probe Time!

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Eve Sampler- 10/10. Sample gathering complete, awaiting transfer burn back to Kerbin.

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Points gained for turning the capture burn around Eve into a direct transfer out to Ike at almost exactly the right position, using up the transfer stage and leaving both craft with ample fuel and gathering extra science from around Ike; points lost for forgetting to detach the science relay on the top to capture into a polar Eve orbit and not completing all the materials bay and mystery goo samples in space low around Eve, requiring a return trip there to finish them off and using all the fuel in the Ike portion of the craft as a result.

First docking around Eve was carried out to complete part of a contract, then the Ike section was dropped into Eve's atmosphere using the remaining RCS propellant.

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Spoiler

Full album: https://imgur.com/a/OvMlelG (it might be a bit out of order, Imgur decided to totally scramble the order overnight :rolleyes:)

Bobak: It seems really quiet around here.

Gus: Not nearly as many launches lately as there were a while ago, but I guess all the low hanging scientific fruit around Kerbin has already been picked.

Wernher: That's right, we're now at the stage of trying to send more interplanetary missions, but those rely on the planets being in the right places to get there.

Val: Which gives us Kerbonauts plenty of time to prepare for the next interplanetary voyage.

Mortimer: Woah, hold up just a second- who said anything about an interplanetary voyage? Those things are expensive!

Val: Do you want to find the cause of The Anomaly or not? We'll get a lot more information by sending a crew than scattering a bunch of probes and rovers around then waiting for them to break in weird and mysterious ways.

Walt: And what if whatever force that's been breaking all the rovers decides to break your crewed ship and strand you on Duna? We barely survived the negative publicity after the first Dres mission needed a rescue package to get home again; getting a crew stuck on another planet with absolutely no way to get them home would destroy the Program's reputation for good.

Mortimer: And then we'd go bankrupt, then we'd have to sell everything and all those idiotic corporations who keep stranding their crews in orbit would end up running the show in space...

Walt: We'd be the laughing stock of the whole world!

Mortimer: We'd lose our pensions!

Val: Enough with the doom and gloom already!

Bobak: We get pensions?

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Posted (edited)
Spoiler

Linus: Your waypoints are in this envelope. You know what to do.

Val: Got it. What are we expecting, more monoliths?

Linus: Most likely, but I also want to get some better readings of that AN2 thing in the mountains east of the Badlands to compare it to the Monoliths.

Val: I'll see what I can do.

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Val: Science flight Zero-Zero-Seven-Charlie departing eastbound.

Wernher: *bursts into Mission Control* Wait, wait!

Linus: What?

Wernher: We've made a mistake with those new atmospheric experiments, you need to turn back. 

Val: What mistake?

Wernher: They'll only generate the data we need with a Rank 3 pilot.

Val: Excuse me!?

Wernher: Maybe we can get Jeb down from the Azimuth Space Station to fly this mission instead-

Val: Jeb went to flarping MINMUS! How does that help with getting atmospheric readings!?!? *inaudible muttering*

ATC intern: Science 007C, return to KSC, runway 27 at your convenience.

Val: *snaps* FINE. *turns radio off*

Linus: I don't think she liked that.

***

Gene: Hello Mortimer. Please take a seat.

Mortimer: What's going on? Why are Bill and Bob here- wait a minute... You're about to launch some ridiculously expensive space mission and need me to sign off on the paperwork, right?

Bob: *hands Bill a crumpled five fund note*

Mortimer: I KNEW IT!

Gene: Take a seat, Morty.

Mortimer: *sigh* Let's get it over with. How much?

Bill: About a hundred and twenty thousand funds in total.

Mortimer: *wince* ...and what's this for?

Bob: A science mission to Laythe. The transfer window to Jool's about to open so we can leave at the optimal time if we launch in the next few days.

Bill: It has four landers to try and land on Laythe; the orbiter has a little bit of scientific equipment but our best guesses for Jool's magnetic fields suggest it'll get absolutely fried by the radiation that close to Jool. We think the atmosphere will shield the probes on the surface from most of it, though, should get a decent amount of data.

Mortimer: I can't really say no to a legitimate science mission; that's the whole reason we're being funded, after all. *signs*

Gene: Very good. One more thing.

Mortimer: Hang on- this is the same thing! Is this some kind of prank?

Bob: Actually, it's not exactly the same- this one's for Vall.

Mortimer: *immediately pulls out a little bottle of pills, takes one and drains the jug of water on Gene's table*

Bill: *hands the five fund note back to Bob*

Mortimer: You need to warn me before doing stuff like that, one of these days I'm going to blow a coronary or something. *signs* Fine, but no more after this! We have plenty of contracts to be getting on with to make some money for a change.

Bob: Thanks Morty!

Bill: Much appreciated!

Morty: *leaves the office* Work for the Space Program, they said... It'll be a nice, relaxing job, they said...

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Bobak: Hey, have you guys seen this? *switches on TV*

BREAKING NEWS! KERBIN IS DOOMED!

MASSIVE ASTEROID SET TO IMPACT KERBIN IN DAYS! PANIC SPREADING ACROSS KERBIN!

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News reporter: -expected to impact Kerbin in less than six days, causing global devastation. Panic buying of canned and dried foods, fuel, toilet rolls and other essential items. So far the Space Program have refused to make a statement, however there appears to be no major activity within the Space Centre which may indicate they've already given up on trying to avert this catastrophe-

Gene: Asteroid?

Wernher: Are they talking about RTA-503?

Linus: Is that here already? Nice, we can send a probe up and get some nice pictures as it flies by.

Wernher: Or, we could send a Kerbal up and get some samples.

Gene: I can't believe I'm saying this, but- that actually sounds like a good idea.

Bobak: But about the whole "annihilating all life on Kerbin" thing?

Linus: Nonsense- it's going to be a hundred kilometres up at periapsis, won't even hit the top of the atmosphere. Also it's a class C asteroid, can't be more than a couple of hundred tons. If it was going to hit Kerbin, most of it would burn up in the atmosphere and what little survived wouldn't do too much damage even if it didn't land in the ocean or the middle of nowhere.

Gene: But who can we send up there to try and grab an asteroid?

Val: Grab a what now?

Everyone: *looks at Val*

Val: What?

***

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Val: Unbelievable. Now I'm on space litter picking duty.

Wernher: Val, you're doing something never attempted before in the history of Kerbalkind.

Linus: That we know of, since The Anomaly, anyway.

Val: *inaudible grumbling*

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Val: I spy, with my little eye, something beginning with... B!

Gene: B?

Val: Big stupid space rock that isn't even going to hit Kerbin.

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Linus: Be careful, Val- for all we know that asteroid could disintegrate as soon as the exhaust from your RCS thrusters hits it, or shatter when you grapple it and shred your capsule, or start spinning wildly until you get flung right out of the Kerbol system faster than light itself.

Val: Quit your whining and let me dock to the rock already.

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Val: Boop! No explosions of any kind, seems pretty solid to me. Imma grab a sample now.

*chiselling noises*

Val: Sample acquired, I'll just stash it in-

Wernher: What?

Val: The sample compartment on this pod is too small.

Bob: Oh yeah...

Bill: I knew there was something we forgot.

Val: Forgot? FORGOT!? ВЯЕZНЙЕVS ТФЕИДILS ДИD ВЕLLУ-ВЦТТФЙ FLЦFГ WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH YOU MORONS!?!? *ranting*

Gene: Cut the live feeds!

Val: *continued ranting*

Bob, Bill: *sneak out of Mission Control*

Val: THAT'S IT!!! IMMA YEET THIS STUPID ROCK AT KERBIN NOW SO IT REALLY IS  GOING TO HIT!

Bobak: Val!

Val: WHY WON'T YOU TURN YOU USELESS PIECE OF *quindar*

Gene: Activate the remote override and release the grapple.

Bobak: Roger that.

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Val: GET BACK HERE YOU WORTHLESS SPACE POTATO! I HAVEN'T FINISHED WITH YOU YET!

Gene: Bring her home, but lock the hatch and keep the controls locked out too.

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Recovery crew: We're on site now, about to open the hatch.

Val: UNHAND ME, RAPSCALLIONS! KEEP YOUR STINKING SPACE ROCKS THEN!

***

Gene: What's gotten into her? I thought Jeb was supposed to be the crazy one?

Jeb (on Azimuth Station): Hey, I heard that!

Rest of Azimuth Station crew: *agreeing noises*

Jeb: Oi! You're all on 100% SpaceKaleTM rations for the next week! And would you look at that- a fresh crop of SpaceKaleTM ready to harvest! How convenient!

Gene: Never mind...

Bobak: Boss, look!

Linus: Data from Duna!? GIMMEGIMMEGIMME!

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Wernher: Data streams coming back from Bop, Pol and Duna itself. We have full control over the Dunashot 1 again and over the Dunashot 1A and 1B probes around Bop and Pol, or are they around Pol and Bop? Either way, looks like a good time to release Dunashot 1D and try to land it on Duna itself.

Bobak: What happened to 1C?

Wernher: Not sure. It got released from the main stack a while after 1A and 1B went to the moons but then stalled in orbit of Duna; best guess is it blundered into one of the moons' gravity wells and either crashed into the moon or into Duna after that.

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Wernher: Dunashot 1D on course for a landing in the "Midland Sea". Nice views of the moons from here too.

Linus: No water yet, though that does look vaguely like a river of some sort in the sand down there.

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Wernher: That... might be right actually.

Linus: Eh?

Wernher: I've heard a theory that the permafrost under the surface could potentially melt in the heat of a Dunan summer day and slowly trickle downhill, so maybe that squiggle in the dust is actually the path of a subsurface meltwater stream of some kind?

Linus: Hang on, who's controlling the probe?

*THUD*

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Bob: Whoops. Ah well, it survived at least. We're getting data from it, though it might take a while to get through it all.

Linus: It looks like Pol will fly right over it any minute AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!

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Wernher: Well that was unexpected.

Gene: It certainly looms in the sky, doesn't it? Much more than the Mun does on Kerbin.

Linus: I've never felt vertigo from looking up before. Even on a screen, that was mildly terrifying having a MOON swooping down at you like that.

Spoiler

Bob: Uh, guys? There's something funky with the Bop data.

Wernher: In what way?

Bob: Well, according to this data, Bop's magnetopause has a greater radiation delta than Duna's- nearly double, in fact. But that's not even the weirdest part: there's this bizarre ring-shaped radiation belt that's almost as strong as Moho's, but it's weirdly lopsided. Even more weirdly, it seems to be following the rotation of the moon exactly.

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Wernher: You mean that as the moon spins on its axis, that ring stays in place?

Bob: Exactly in place. It's almost as if the radiation ring is centred on a point on Bop's surface!

Spoiler

And we all know what that means... :0.0:

Edited by jimmymcgoochie
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Bill: Behold, my latest creation!

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Bill: ...why is nobody looking at my super duper autonomous in-situ resource utilisation prototype? I spent ages making this thing!

Bob: Sorry, we're a bit busy looking after the Dunashot 1 probes as they land on Bop and Pol. Looks like Pol is up first.

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Linus; Who cares about stupid little Pol? Bop is waaay more important!

Bob: Yeah, well, the probe around Pol had a signal when I looked at it so we're doing that one first.

 

 

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Bob: Nailed the landing, data is rolling in nicely.

Linus: Can we look at Bop now?

Bob: Hold your horses, Linus, we still have plenty of biomes on Pol to visit first.

Linus: *types on keyboard at his station*

Bob: Point to the west, throttle up and-*fzzt*

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Linus: Wow, that's unlucky, that engine had literally dozens of ignitions left, and well within the rated burn time too.

Bob: Bah, there goes the biome hopping plan. Looks like we'll need a proper mission to explore Pol's surface.

Linus: Oh well, every cloud has a silver lining and all that...

Wernher: Just do the Bop landing already, he's getting on my nerves.

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Bob: Bringing it down nice and gently...

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Linus: ...that's nowhere near the centre of the radiation belt.

Bob: Orbits didn't align for that, I figure we can land here first, wait for the moon to rotate so we can land in daylight again and get some science while we're waiting.

Wernher: He has a point, Linus.

Linus: ...

Now, if I aim, sort of, that way? Or maybe that way? Or how about... this way?

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Wernher: Cliff!

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Bob: It's not that steep.

Wernher: Huh? I was talking to Cliff here.

Cliff: Hi guys. I brought cookies!

Gene: Gaaah! Where'd he come from!?

Wernher: He's my new intern.

Linus: :o

*much cookie munching later*

Bob: What is wrong with this stupid probe? It's going all over the place, wasting fuel and it's going towards the night side of Bop too.

Wernher: Maybe its probe core was damaged by the radiation?

Linus: Where's it going?

Bob: I have no idea, but I can't control it any more. I've activated the automatic landing system, hopefully it lands in one piece and we can do a diagnostic on it when the sun comes back up.

*LOSS OF SIGNAL*

Wernher: We have some really weird readings on the sensors, data's getting scrambled pretty badly. Poor thing's totally fried.

Bob: Touchdown confirmed, I'm trying to get a status report but the data's totally corrupted. I mean, look at the state of this image.

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Bill: Yeah, that probe is toast.

Wernher: Too bad we couldn't find the source of that magnetic anomaly. Maybe it's under the surface? What do you think, Linus? ...Linus?

Bob: It's not all bad news though- all that radiation data should be enough for us to research an active radiation shield which should protect our future crewed missions from background radiation levels. That'll make a huge difference to our interplanetary mission plans.

***

Bob: Duna Relay standing by to initiate capture burn in 3, 2, 1, mark.

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Bill: Orbit looks good, well away from Bop so it should stay put for a long time.

Mortimer: *bursts in* You're not going to believe this...

Gene: What?

Mortimer: I just got four contracts to land on Moho. Four! Where's that Mohoshot 2 thing got to?

Bill: Just finishing off the last landing on Gilly to get lowlands science-

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Mortimer: Forget that. Put that probe on the surface of Moho, right now!

Bob: But what about the science?

Mortimer: Just land the probe. Touch the surface of Moho and we get  so many payouts we could replace that probe twice over.

Bill: So we could have two more probes?

Mortimer: I said could, didn't I? If this one breaks because of this, I'll pay for another one. Deal?

Gene: Deal.

Bob: Deal.

Wernher: Fine. It's not like Moho transfer windows are hard to come by.

Mortimer: Bill?

Bill: Can't talk, too busy landing on Moho.

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Mortimer: Very good. Carry on then.

Bob: Try to land somewhere flat, I don't rate this thing's ability to balance on a slope in this gravity.

Bill: Noted.

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Everyone: *cheering*

***

Back once more (definitely not because it's a contractual obligation), it's Probe Time!

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Kerbin Ultra-Rover 1: 17/10. How can we give it a lower score after this gravity-defying stunt, balancing on a sheer cliff to get that sweet, sweet science by scanning a rare giant quartz formation in the Whoopstooshort Mountains; and all this after it's spent nearly a year roaming Kerbin gathering scientific data. Rover returned to KSC, recovered and sold to a museum.

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Mining Prototype 1: 10/10. The ISRU system performed rather differently than expected, producing hundreds of times more oxidiser than liquid fuel due to a chronic shortage of CO2 production. Valuable lessons learnt.

Spoiler

Bill: Bit of a bummer that my mining prototype didn't work as well as I'd hoped, barely any fuel to show for it.

Wernher: It produced a good quantity of oxidiser though. Maybe if we try to produce hydrolox instead to avoid the carbon bottleneck, but then we'd have to deal with liquefying the hydrogen gas and preventing it from boiling away faster than we made it.

Bob: I'm more disappointed at the Dunashot probes- first the Pol probe losing its engine, then the Bop probe getting wrecked by radiation.

Bobak: I tried to reconnect to the Bop probe, but no luck. Looks like it's well and truly dead.

Spoiler

Or was it?

Linus: Nice work on that asteroid mission, Val. You sure had 'em fooled.

Val: 'Unhand me, rapscallions', heh. I always wanted to say that. You think I laid it on a bit too thick?

Linus: Nah, I think you got it just right. But where on Kerbin did you get that crazy saying?

Val: Eh, my Ussari's a bit rusty, I think I used the past split infinitive participle instead of the present, or was it the other way round?

Linus: Just be careful, OK? I'm not sure how much more damage the fourth wall can take.

Val: Did you find the Bop anomaly? They said the probe had a computer failure.

Linus: Probe was genuinely wrecked by that radiation belt, I'm amazed it lasted so long before it failed, but the last signal they got in Mission Control was ever so slightly doctored to make it look like it was just dead pixels. It's the strangest thing though- we looked in the centre of the circle and there was absolutely nothing there, but then Bob tried to keyboard-mash his way through the avionics dying and managed to blunder straight to it without even knowing. The special sequence we made worked like a charm and it landed right where we wanted it; power and transmitter systems are still working nominally and the Lazarus Protocol has been initiated.

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Val and Linus: *in eerie unison* All Hail the Kraken!

 

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Linus: Time to come home, my pretty!

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Gene: OK, while Linus is busy caressing the computer screen, everyone else listen up. We've got another asteroid coming past Kerbin soon and it looks like it's a bit bigger than the last one, but with a periapsis a bit further out.

Wernher: This is an ideal opportunity to get some valuable samples of an asteroid without having to chase after one in a solar orbit. *scowls at Bill and Bob* Make sure we have enough space for all the samples this time...

Cliff (Wernher's new intern): *walks in with a cake covered in fireworks* Happy new year everybody!

*firework-induced craziness, minor fires, that sort of thing*

Wernher: Those fireworks are for outdoor use only!

Cliff: oops...

Gene: How can it be New Year's Day already? I thought the last one was only a few munths ago?

Bobak: Have we been running this thing for two years or three now?

*fire suppression systems deploy*

Gene: Everyone out!

*outside*

Bobak: Roll call complete, one unaccounted for.

Gene: Who?

Bobak: Val. Wait, what's that Kronus doing on the runway?

Gene: Uh oh...

Val: So long, suckers! All your space rocks are belong to me!

Bobak: We need to lock the controls out!

Gene: We can't get back into Mission Control until the fire safety officer resets the system.

Wernher: Who's the fire safety officer?

Bobak: You?

Wernher: Am I? *rummages in pockets* ...mulch. I knew I forgot something. *runs off towards staff car park*

***

Val: Hello? Anyone? There's a problem with this asteroid, it's actually heading straight towards Kerbin.

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Val: Hellooooo?

 

 

 

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Val: No, seriously, this one's actually going to hit Kerbin. And it's A LOT bigger than the last one. You guys need to start evacuating people or something.

 

 

 

 

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Val: ...guys? You're actually starting to scare me a little bit. This rock is pretty huge and coming down pretty steep, it'll probably make it down to the surface largely intact and I can't even budge it with this rocket.

 

 

 

 

 

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Val: OK, stuff this- samples acquired, I'm OUTTA HERE! Slow down slow down slowdownslowdownslowdownslowdownslowdownSLOWDOWN!-

BOOM!

Val: Hnnnnnngggggg, that hurt. I think I can still taste my kidneys. How many Gs was that, 20? 30?

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Val: ...you know what? You can keep your stupid rock samples. I'm done. Maybe I can hitch-hike to Baikerbanur and start my own space program or something...

***

It's that time again! (What time, you ask?) Why, Probe Time, of course!

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Joolshot 1: 1Á/10. Sufféred s☺me data corru²çion due të exÐ{ssive radíatio▼ expÌsure, lack ☻f Ñ ├█↑ı|gR|ȶ○ NullReferenceException: Object not set to an instance of a variable.

Attempting to reconnect...

 

Bob: Uh oh, looks like Joolshot 1 is in trouble.

Bill: The signal was so weak to begin with, all that radiation is probably scrambling it beyond the computers' ability to comprehend.

Bob: Telemetry for the course correction burn looks good though, we'll get flybys of Tylo, Vall and Laythe in that order without any further course changes.

Wernher: And then straight into the inner belt which will kill it for sure.

Bob: Ah.

Bill: We can still send commands to it though and the data drives seem to be holding up pretty well, so if we reserve all the transmission bandwidth for telemetry and trickle back the visible images we should still be OK.

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Linus: OK, I have a crazy idea that might just work.

Wernher: Here we go...

Linus: During its time orbiting Jool, the probe has managed to pinpoint the orbit of an unknown body that seems to be in a resonance with Vall. If we brake the probe into orbit of Laythe *here* and then do an escape burn *here*, we can intercept that unknown body in a few days' time. It'll use quite a bit of fuel, but the probe has fuel to spare anyway.

Bob: That... actually sounds like a good idea.

Bill: I concur. Let's do it.

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Gene: That's weird, I thought the sun was bigger than that.

Bob: That's not Kerbin, Gene, that's Laythe. Joolshot 1 just captured into orbit, now we're about to leave orbit again and chase after a mystery moon.

Gene: *rubs forehead* I need to cut down on my caffeine intake...

Bob: Aww, we lost the signal completely now.

Bill: Looks like the transfer burn worked, now we just have to send a command to try and capture at periapsis over this mystery moon and hope the probe manages to carry it out.

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Mortimer: Is that Jool? That's a great shot- we'll sell so many T-shirts with that.

Bill: While we wait for that to happen, how about another test of the new mining and fuel manufacturing equipment?

Bob: You read my mind.

Linus: Kerbin Ultra-rover 3 is approaching the Badlands. Stay safe, my precious!

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Gene: Badlands aren't "bad lands", you know, it's a geological term that refers to an erosional landscape with lots of deep ravines and gullies-

Linus: Really? Because I don't see any ravines or gullies on the cameras.

Jeb: Maybe they're under quicksand.

Linus: Q-quicksand!?

Bobak: I thought you were on the Azimuth Station?

Jeb: I was, but then some of the newbies started showing early signs of space madness so we decided to come home and let another crew live in that collection of tin cans in space. No biggie.

Gene: There's no quicksand in the Badlands.

Linus: But how can you be sure? There must be a reason why they're called "Bad" lands after all! :0.0:

Gene *sigh* thanks Jeb...

***

Bill: Looks like the mining rig is still producing far too much oxidiser compared to fuel.

Bob: Not too surprising, considering we have to liquefy the hydrogen which reduces its volume by a factor of a thousand. We might need to use the bigger ISRU units for fuel production and/or the smaller chemical synthesis units to make oxidiser.

Bill: I'm bringing it back in.

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Bill: Maybe we can try making monopropellant next time?

Bob: Hmm, that could be a trickier production chain. Worth a try though.

Spoiler

***
Automated Deep Space Network probe control system online.

Attempting to establish data connection with vessel [Joolshot 1].
>
>>
>>>
>>>>
>>>>>
Connection failed.


Attempting to establish basic telemetry feed from vessel [Joolshot 1].
>
>>
>>>
>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>>>
Connection established.
Onboard analysis of sensor data initiated.
Excessive radiation levels detected.
Mission status: 27 entered SOI of [unknown].
Comparing radius, gravity, terrain height, surface albedo and spectroscopic data from [unknown] with reference data [pre-Anomaly_planetary_data.dat].
1 match found: [Eeloo].
Mission status: 17 entered SOI of [Eeloo].
Rendering model of spacecraft relative to target body.

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Alerting Mission Control.
Radiation damage detected. System will now shut down for fault recovery.
Connection lost.

Edited by jimmymcgoochie
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Linus: Psst, hey Val!

Val: Are you trying to be sneaky or something?

Linus: ...no? Just take a look at this and tell me what you think.

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Linus: What does it say?

Val: I think it says... *clears throat* FNaBHbIN(hat) AN3aN(hat)Hep!

Linus: Wha-? What does that mean?

Val: I have no idea! It's like a scientific calculator threw up on a plaque!

Linus: But I thought you could speak this, whatever it is.

Val:  Where did you even find this?

Linus: It's written on AN-2, one of the Ultra-Rovers drove over there to check it out in more detail than the old Amphibious Rover did a couple of years ago and the new cameras spotted it.

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Linus: But really, "N(hat)"?

Val: Like you'd do any better :P

***

That font change can only mean one thing- it's Probe Time again!

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Moho Rover 1: 9/10. Transfer burn to Moho split into two periapsis kicks to reduce the final burn duration and avoid crashing into the atmosphere. Poor initial accuracy required course correction, but will arrive in around 110 days and has ample fuel reserves for capturing.

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And now for something a little different. Or in this case, a gargantuan different.

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Ultraheavy Lifter: 3/10. Repeated engine incinerations, booster collisions, engine failures and generally not making it to orbit, but that's why we do these "simulations" in the first place. 

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Symmetrical booster separation is aesthetically pleasing and also seems to result in fewer post-separation booster collisions, which will be good for the eventual goal of recovering the boosters and core to reduce overall costs.

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Further work is still required on this design to allow it to reliably reach orbit with the current payload.

Oh yeah, the payload. It's 1500 tons.

PER LAUNCH.

Yes, it costs over 2 million funds per launch as well so the funds per ton is pretty poor compared to the existing fleet of SSTOs, but come on- 1500 tons per launch, and scope to increase that further once the kinks get worked out of the system. Like the engines melting each other, for example...

Spoiler

Mortimer: Bill, Bob, what are you doing?

Bob: Don't look, Morty!

Bill: You really don't want to know.

Mortimer: It can't be worse than that hideously expensive nuclear powered Moho transfer stage, can it?

Bill: ...

Bob: ...

Mortimer: Oh dear...

Bill: 1500 tons per launch, but that sort of lift capacity doesn't come cheap.

Bob: 2.1 million funds per launch, we're still working on getting it working properly and making it more reusable at the same time.

Mortimer; You realise that that thing would spend all our currently available funds in one go, right? And what exactly do you need to launch 1500 tons into orbit for? Are you planning to relocate the VAB into space?

Bob: That's not the worst idea, actually.

Bill: Mine ore on the Mun, turn it into rocket parts on site and launch from there without having to deal with the gravity and the atmosphere on Kerbin.

Bob: Or even better, start on Dres- even less gravity, no radiation hazards, we can mine fuel from Minmus and shuttle it across- where'd he go?

*Gene's office*

Mortimer: I quit.

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Gene: Morty, please-

Mortimer: Nope. Nope nope nope.

Gene: Just hear me out, OK? I have a proposal that might just persuade you to stay.

Mortimer: Ha! I'd like to see you try.

 

*a few minutes later*

Gene: Ah, William, Robert. Do come in, take a seat.

Bob: Did he just-?

Bill: Are... are we in trouble?

Gene: That depends entirely on your answer to my next question.

Bill, Bob: *nervous noises*

Gene: Would one of you like to explain why exactly you were running detailed simulations of an 11 kiloton, 2 million fund rocket to put 1500 tons of payload into orbit in a single launch?

Bill, Bob: :blush:

Gene: When I said we needed to explore our options for putting larger payloads into orbit, I didn't mean increasing it by a factor of fifty! I've had just about enough of your antics- first that Mun landing that should have been aborted when the engine failed, then your little "surprise trip" to Dres, not to mention all your secret side projects and your repeatedly launching missions without consulting anyone else about it.

Bill, Bob: *cowering*

Gene: For your information, just a few minutes ago Mortimer here came into my office and handed in his resignation because of you. You've made his work- and his life- here far more difficult than it ever should have been with your nonsense.

Mortimer: True.

Gene: Your attitude towards the organisational structure in this Agency has been nothing short of abysmal.

Mortimer: Also true.

Gene: So from now on, I'm putting Mortimer directly in charge of the engineering department.

Mortimer: Wait what?

Gene: Every design you come up with, you'll have to justify the spending to him. Before you make it, not after.

Mortimer: *only slightly evil grin* I do like the sound of that.

Bob: *gulp*

Bill: meep

Mortimer: I'll expect a full cost/benefit analysis of each and every design you come up with, a list of alternative options to save costs, properly formatted and submitted in triplicate for my perusal before you so much as think about touching a single component. Am I making myself perfectly clear?

Bill: Absolutely.

Bob: Yes, boss!

Mortimer: Well, what are you sitting there for? Those reports aren't going to triplicate themselves!

Bill, Bob: *run out the office*

Gene: So I take it you're staying?

Mortimer: I have to hand it to you, this idea of yours really appealed to me. Well, that and it'd be a nightmare trying to get all my pot plants out of my office. I hereby un-tender my resignation, as long as they hold up their end of the deal.

*later*

*knock on door*

Mortimer: Enter.

Bill: I've prepared all that documentation for you, just like you asked.

Mortimer: What's this for exactly?

Bill: It's an experimental vertical launch, horizontal landing single stage to orbit rocket. It's not like last time!

Mortimer: *lowers cattle prod* Continue.

Bill: We're estimating a payload to orbit in the region of 200 tons per launch, with an estimated cost per ton of under 500 funds.

Mortimer: The Kronus Mk2 can do 212 funds per ton.

Bill: Yes, but this thing can put more than seven times the payload into orbit with each flight. We could launch an entire spaceship in one go instead of having to send it up in pieces and assemble it in orbit, which requires a team of engineers in space for long periods of time and is more dangerous and time-consuming than building it here.

Mortimer: Hmm... This is an unusual design, to say the least, how did you come up with it.

Bill: We, er, didn't. It was on the hard drive of that old pre-Anomaly satellite that Bob and I found crashed on the Mun a couple of years ago. We tried a new piece of software to try and recover the corrupted data and found some rocket designs, including that one and, uh, something rather a lot larger.

Mortimer: *eye twitch*

Bill: *hastily* But we're going with this one! Everything is in the report.

Mortimer: Very good, William, very good. I'll inform you when I've made a decision. You are free to go.

Bill: Thanks, Morty- er, I mean, Mortimer, sir. *leaves*

Mortimer: Hmmm, this does show some promise.

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Mortimer: Boosters separate and do powered landings in the sea; not great, but I'm sure we can get the ground teams to scrub the salt off or rustle up some landing barges for them.

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Mortimer: Yikes, that's a hot re-entry.

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Mortimer: And that's not so much a landing as a barely controlled crash.

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Mortimer: 455 funds per ton, huh? Not particularly great, but the increased payload capacity does open up some possibilities to save money elsewhere. In the meantime, I think I know something that'll keep those two out of mischief for a while. *picks up phone* Hello, Wernher? It's Mortimer. I've had an idea and I think you'll like it.

*later*

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Bob: Deployed science stuff deployed, now what?

Bill: I dunno, but that pilot certainly took off again in a hurry.

***

This would usually be Probe Time, but for one episode only- it's Not Probe Time!

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Interplanetary Ship 1: 10/10. Construction finished by the crew of Assembly Station (visible to the left of the leftmost Gigantor solar panel), absolutely no explosions or engines pointing in weird directions, nope, no siree, none whatsoever.

Spoiler

OOC: KSTS construction mode does that every time, it struck both of my Kerbalism Grand Tours and a few other career games before that. I always have to cheat the mangled one back to the launchpad and then send a new one up in its place. Annoying but manageable as I don't use KSTS construction mode very often, partly because of this bug.

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Duna Rover: 8/10. Mediocre speed and handling made up for by good stability, snazzy lights and the ability to self right if it falls on one side.

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Issues with solar panels found when folding up, will require further study.

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And last but not least:

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Assembly Station: 7/10. Too small and cramped for long-term use, solar panels couldn't be retracted so were destroyed by re-entry heating, overshot KSC a bit too but was recovered a short distance offshore. Crew were removed from station before it was deorbited for safety reasons; future orbital assembly work will use Azimuth Station until a dedicated construction station can be launched (if it ever is).

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And that's all from this special one-off episode of Not Probe Time!

Spoiler

*over on the Island Airfield*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bill: Well this sucks.

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Mortimer: HAHA! Didn't see this coming, did you!?

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Wernher: But... we just did that?

Mortimer: This one's better though- I found those "secret files" Bill and Bob mentioned and discovered that there are several different variants of this craft on there. I took the best one and modified it a little to make it even more efficient and reduce the cost per ton to orbit.

Wernher: But... but... you're an accountant! You can't do rocket science!

Mortimer: Oh, come on, it can't be that difficult, surely?

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Mortimer: Not that way NOT THAT WAY-!

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*right side tanks break off on landing*

Mortimer: Well, that wasn't too bad for a first try.

Val: Better than Jeb's first flight, that's for sure.

Mortimer: But I can do better! Reload the simulator!

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Mortimer: Launch done, payload release done, re-entry done, now all that's left is to ever-so-gently...

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Mortimer: *sweating buckets* geeentlyyyyyy...

*boop*

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Mortimer: And touchdown!

Val: That thing has a slo-mo mode? I didn't know that!

Mortimer: 190 tons to 72km circular orbit- hmm, that's a bit on the low side- but 275 funds per ton!? :D

Wernher: Yes, 72 kilometres IS on the low side, especially considering the fact that Bill and Bob's version can put an additional 30 tons of payload into an orbit over a hundred kilometres higher.

Mortimer: For twice the cost per flight. I call that a win for me.

Val: I actually agree with Morty- so what if you launch stuff barely above the atmosphere? It'll have rockets on it anyway to go higher.

Spoiler

Full album: https://imgur.com/a/Zj4myM8

Yep, it's a surprise bonus round. I discovered that the 3MM craft I'm using actually has 3 variants on KerbalX and that I had originally used the first version; I downloaded the third version and made a few minor tweaks (a bit more fuel, different engines and replacing the Big-S parts that I haven't unlocked yet) after posting the last report, so stuck it in separately.

Is the additional 30 tons and 110km worth spending double the funds? Only time will tell...

*over on the Island Airfield*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bob: Did you bring any snacks?

Bill: No. You?

Bob: No.

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Walt: Look, for the last time, there is absolutely no way that we could have moved that asteroid! It was over a thousand tons of metallic rock travelling well above escape velocity; every sensor we had said that it would miss Kerbin by over two hundred kilometres; then when we realised its course had been shifted our only available craft successfully grappled to the asteroid but was completely unable to move it by more than a few millimetres per second. It. Could. Not. Be. Stopped.

Journalist (that same annoying one from Part 14 https://forum.kerbalspaceprogram.com/index.php?/topic/203971-into-the-snarkiverse/&do=findComment&comment=4017268): So you're saying that the detection systems incorrectly mapped its trajectory and you ignored the potential threat until it was too late? *thwack!* Ow!

Val: Happy asteroid day! *yeets another lump of asteroid at annoying journalist* Come on, those are teeny tiny little bits of asteroid, surely your detection systems can map their trajectory! *yeet* Redirect this!

*everyone runs for the exits*

Walt: I've been wanting to do that for years... But then I'd get fired.

Val: I guess that's one advantage of "space madness". Also, why are you still wearing that hazmat suit? Did you lose another bet?

Walt: No, no, I actually like the suit. It's cozy, and on days like today it helps with the toxic atmosphere in these briefings.

Val: Very punny. Now help me gather up those rocks before Wernher notices they're gone.

***

Wernher: Zero casualties, that's a relief; but soon we'll have every idiot in a hundred kilometre radius trying to sue us because they think that asteroid was somehow our fault. Have they just forgotten that The Anomaly exists?

Linus: You'd be surprised. We look at it every day, but to many out there the Space Program only crosses their minds when something significant happens- like a thousand ton asteroid hitting the planet, for example. And while we're on that subject- there's a weird reading on this next one, the classification system seems to think it's a Class I; I thought only comets could be that big?

Wernher: Periapsis?

Linus: About 12,000 kilometres, give or take.

Wernher: We could send up another Asteroid Interceptor to find out what it's really like, assuming the Chief Bean-counter will let us.

Mortimer: I heard that! Although the way things are going, maybe it would be good to look proactive? Still, we need a pilot and I don't think Val's interested in poking at yet another space rock.

Jeb: DIBS!

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Jeb: The sun looks a bit odd today and it definitely feels hotter on my face.

Gene: Jeb, you're in the middle of a solar flare and you're pointing your face at the sun!?!?

Jeb: Oh, so that's what that alarm meant... Fine, pointing engine at sun. Ooh, a rock!

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Jeb: Boop, asteroid intercepted. I'll grab some chunks and head back before I grow a third eye or something.

Gene: Good idea. *inaudible muttering*

Jeb: One for Morty's gift shop postcard collection and then I'm outta here.

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Mortimer: I don't think we'll sell many of those, what with the whole "asteroid crashed into Kerbin" thing.

Jeb: That sounds like a you problem. Before I go, I hereby declare that this asteroid shall henceforth and forevermore be known as "Jeb's Rock". 

Val: You can't do that!

Jeb: Just did. Deal with it :cool:

Val: Can he do that?

Gene: Who even knows...

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***

Mortimer: So you're saying that if I give you some money to make this contraption, you'll use it to return the Dres Express to the surface of Kerbin and make back more money that we're spending?

Bob: Precisely. Also I think I left some samples of Minmus up there and it's really been bugging me lately.

Mortimer: Fine, but try to land near the KSC, will you?

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Bob: This close enough for you, Morty?

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Mortimer: *happy accountant noises*

Wernher: You were right, Bob- you did leave those Minmus samples in there this whole time.

Bob: *happy scientist noises*

Bobak: The team at Glacier Lake just called- Ultra-Rover 3 just drove up and parked on their launchpad, they've secured it for recovery and will be sending it back to us as soon as they can.

Linus: *happy scientist noises*

*alarm*

Gene: What's that?

Wernher: The Moho rover must be arriving at- oops, forgot to add in the margin for the burn so it's about 5 minutes too late starting the capture burn. Not to worry, there's plenty of extra fuel on that nuclear stage.

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Wernher: In fact, there's so much fuel that we could probably land with just the nuclear stage.

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Wernher: Shame we have to ditch that skycrane, it might have been useful at some point but with that in the way the robotic arm can't deploy.

Linus: It has that new rover smell.

Wernher: ...right. There's some kind of magma vent not too far away, we can try the scanner arm out on that first.

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Val: All that scientific gubbins just to tell you that the floor is lava?

Bob: It's a bit more complicated than that. But also, yes.

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Wernher: Is that Gilly again? I knew it orbited fast, but I don't think I realised just how fast until I saw it from the ground like that.

Spoiler

Gene: Everyone, I have an important announcement to make. The crew for the first voyage to Duna has been chosen.

Mission commander: Valentina.

Val: Woot! :D

Chief scientist: Robert.

Bob: Yay! :D 

Chief engineer: William.

Bill: High-five! :D 

Second scientist: Valmal.

Valmal: Woo! :D Wait, you're putting two Vals on the same ship?

Val: Well, I'm Val, so you have to be Mal.

Valmal: Ooh, that ship has a greenhouse on it! I can make all my new SpaceKaleTM recipes!

Val: Executive decision- Bob's on chef duty.

 

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Mortimer: Oh goody, what crazy contraptions have you decided to spend my- er, our, money on today?

Wernher: Well, firstly there's this rover for Duna. It'll give whichever of the crew lands on Duna something to do for a while and gather some more science in the process.

Linus: You had me at "rover", then lost me at "crew".

Mortimer: Very well, that one can go.

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Wernher: Then there's this other rover for Eve, based on the same design we used on Kerbin and Moho. There are a few contracts for science data from Eve's surface, plus we've gone there a total of once with a really rudimentary lander so there's a lot still to learn about it.

Linus: *barely contained excitement*

Mortimer: All right then, go.

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Wernher: Ah, great, the engine failed. Stupid Skiff and its stupid two rated ignitions, we can barely do any course corrections with it; still, that's what we put the RCS system on it for.

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Val: Interplanetary Ship 1 to Mission Control, we're about to head off to Duna. Commencing burn countdown.

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Bobak: Are you sure you have your EVA jetpacks with you? I thought I saw a box marked "EVA packs for Duna" lying around in the VAB.

Val: Wait one...

*nervous silence*

Val: Yeah, we totally have the jetpacks, they were here all along. Don't scare us like that, dude, not cool.

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Val: Periapsis kick burn complete, one more orbit and we'll get all the way off to Duna.

Linus: Can someone stick their head out and check that Wolfhound engine? I just have a bad feeling about it...

Val: Uh, sure. Hey not-Val, go check the engines!

Valmal: *indistinct grumbling*

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Valmal: Well, would you look at that. The Wolfhound's mounting screws have come loose; if we'd have fired that up it could have shaken itself to pieces. Just need to tighten these up a bit and we'll be good to go. Also, my geiger counter is clicking at me?

Bill: Don't worry, that's just because you're floating right beside four barely shielded nuclear reactors while we're flying through Kerbin's inner belt.

Valmal: Then why didn't we wait until after we were through the belt!?

Val: Enough chatter, Mal. Get in here and let's get this show on the road- to Duna! Looks like the transfer burn will be completed in the dark, as is right and proper.

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Mortimer: At last! Now that Bill and Bob are gone I can finally relax, no harebrained schemes or expensive prototypes to worry about- just nice, simple contracts. Space station on a solar orbit? No problem!

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Mortimer: It's almost too easy sometimes...

Bobak: Sentinel 2's circularisation burn is coming up. Once it's in position we'll have better coverage of space around Kerbin and Dres as well as a nice relay between Kerbin and Eve.

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Wernher: We need to do something about Joolshot 1.

Gene: What about it?

Wernher: We're getting a lot of failure reports through the telemetry system, most likely because it keeps getting irradiated every time Eeloo dips into Jool's outer belt.

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Wernher: If we move it to a high Jool orbit, outside the belts, it might last long enough to transmit its data back home before everything else on it fails too.

Gene: Worth a shot.

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Wernher: Well, it's in the right place, but we just lost another solar panel. It might be too little too late, but we'll have to wait and see.

***

Welcome to another episode of Probe Time!

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Vall Quartet: 9/10. Had to deploy solar panels on the probes to prevent loss of fuel as the core stage's solar panels were totally inadequate to maintain active cooling of the hydrogen tanks. Performed Tylo gravity assist and subsequent Vall intercept burn as expected, due to arrive at Vall in one orbit.

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Laythe Quartet: 7/10. Also had power issues but couldn't deploy solar panels so had to disable cooling systems and lost fuel as a result. Still able to capture into polar Laythe orbit as intended and lander deployment could begin.

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Laythe Quartet 1: 13/10. Survived unpredictable atmospheric entry and landed on the targeted island, deployed antennae and solar panels and began science gathering.

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Separation from parachute/aeroshell stage performed using Spin Really FastTM technique to allow full deployment. Data rates to KSC extremely low but data storage is large. Possible cryovolcanic or geyser activity detected in vicinity of landing.

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And that's all from- wait a minute...

Who's been messing with the fonts?

This isn't right at all!

And that's all from Probe Time! We'll be back again, same time, same place.

***

Bobak: We've lost contact with Laythe Quartet 2 just as it started its descent towards Laythe's south pole. The last image we got from it was pretty nice though.

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Mortimer: Another for the collection, and while I'm at it I might as well include this one too.

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Spoiler

Gene: Morty, I've been meaning to ask...

Mortimer: Yes?

Gene: I went down to the gift shop and I didn't see a single postcard, magnet, T-shirt, mug or anything at all with any of those pictures you've been collecting on them. What exactly are you doing with them?

Mortimer: Have you looked at the walls in the staff canteen lately? How about the rooms in the Astronaut Complex and the Administration Building? The screensavers on these monitors? It turns out people would much rather get a postcard or T-shirt with some little cartoon rocket or our official logo on it, so I've been using them to decorate the walls of the KSC instead.

Gene: That's... actually a pretty good idea.

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Linus: MONTAGE!

Gene: Wait wha-

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Linus: Laythe Quartet 2 is down!

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Linus: That's number three down...

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Linus: And four. And all landed on actual land! But we're not done yet!

Gene: *hides under desk*

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Linus: Whoops, that was close- just 3m/s left in the tanks there!

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Linus: Hey, how come this thing thinks the "highlands" are below the "midlands"?

Wernher: *terrified sobbing*

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Bobak: Why is that one so much darker than the rest?

Linus: Forgot to turn the ambient light booster on, just a sec...

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Linus: There we go! Just one probe left, nice and easy- not that way mountain MOUNTAIN!-

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Linus: Sheesh, they should really warn you about things like that. Lost a solar panel on landing, though considering it ran out of fuel and hit at nearly 30m/s that's pretty good going. Now all we need to do is wait for the data to come oozing back at 0.1B/s or for all the parts to die from radiation damage. Nice work, team, everybody take five!

Wernher: *still sobbing* Five isn't going to do it...

*plane noises*

Gene: What the-?

Mortimer: Who did that? :mad:

Sanlan: What? You said the signal back from Jool was terrible, so I made a relay to fix it. It has science-y stuff too and it'll last a really long time because it won't ever go down into the radiation belts. Think of it as a long-term investment in future Jool operations.

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***

Great. Someone totally stole our thunder by covering all those probe landings on Laythe and Vall. Ah well, looks like it's going to be a very short instalment of Probe Time!

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Gilly Scanner: 8/10. Started braking burn too late so flew right past Gilly at over 2km/s, eventually braked into orbit of Moho and managed to fly back to Gilly to capture into orbit. Gilly's SOI seems to be too small to support scanning operations even using parts with the lowest minimum altitudes possible.

Insert outro link here.

Spoiler

*In the KSC canteen*

Gene: It's OK, Wernher, just breathe.

Wernher: *breathing into paper bag*

Linus: *sheepish* Hi, guys, sorry about earlier. I got a bit carried away.

Gene: A bit?

Linus: OK, a lot. But I do have some good news- I've fixed the Gilly scanner!

Gene: How?

Linus: Well, it was pretty simple really- I tweaked the config to increase Gilly's SOI by 5km so a probe can orbit above 20km to use the scanners found a resonant orbit around Gilly that uses the gravity of Moho to keep the probe from leaving Gilly's gravity. So far everything looks like it's working, though it might take a while to cover the whole surface because the probe's orbital period is almost the same as Gilly's rotation speed.

Sanlan: Did he just talk in strikethrough text?

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Linus: The probe now departing from platform 2 is the Eve Sampler service non-stop to Kerbin.

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Gene: Can you just... not? If you think you're being quirky, you're not- you're just being annoying and I'm getting tired of it.

Linus: ;.;

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Bobak: Joolshot 2 has arrived at Jool, on course for Tylo gravity assist to capture.

Gene: See, that's how to give a mission update!

Linus: *sniffling* The Eve Rover is approaching Eve, ready for EDL procedure.

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Gene: See? That wasn't too difficult, was *KLAXON!* what was that!?

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Linus: Two... Two hundred Gs!?!? *faints*

Bobak: How did that thing even survive those sorts of forces?

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Wernher: Eve Rover touchdown confirmed, all equipment is deployed. We'll give it a shakedown to see if anything was damaged during that, uh, aggressive aerobraking, but so far it all seems OK.

Bobak: That image seems really dark, maybe the camera is damaged? Or maybe that ambient light booster thingy is switched off?

Wernher: No, the camera is fine and the booster is on; Eve is just really dark at night.

Bobak: Oh.

Wernher: But there's a suspiciously light blob over there that looks like a prime candidate to test the scanning arm on.

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Linus: Owww, my head. What happened?

Wernher: You fainted. But here's something to perk you up again: the Eve Rover is down safely and fully operational, plus we're about to get the last seismic data from the Mun rover-

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Wernher: Ah. That's unfortunate.

Linus: *faints*

Val (from Interplanetary Ship 1): Hey Kerbin, how's our Duna rover doing? Is it there yet?

Gene: Status update on the Duna rover?

Bobak: It's, uh... *frantic typing*

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Bobak: Flying past the moons, with a nice view to boot. Plenty of fuel left to brake before landing as long as we set the parachutes to deploy at minimum pressure.

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Bobak: And...

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Bobak: Touchdown! All systems check out nominally, including that self-righting motor on the roof.

Val: Hey Bob, come check out your new ride!

Bob: Cool, is that the- wait, why is it my new ride?

Val: Because you're going down to Duna, obviously. Bill can do Pol and I'll go to Bop.

Valmal: What about me?

Val: You can do that science thing in the lab with the samples and stuff. That's basically the only reason they sent you along with us.

Valmal: That's not true!

Gene: It, kind of, is...

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Val: Prepare for deceleration!

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Val: ...is that it? Wow, those NERVs are wimpy.

Bill: We used up nearly all the oxidiser for the Wolfhound doing the transfer burn from Kerbin and what little we had left just got used now.

Bob: The burn calculator was apparently including the thrust from the Wolfhound when it timed the start of the capture burn, so now we're well behind and the orbit won't be what we planned.

Gene: Great...

Bob: But the silver lining is we can get a better orbit, one that has its periapsis on the opposite side to Pol and so will never get caught by its gravity.

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Wernher: Nice work. One problem though- you appear to be in a near-polar orbit, which is great for not getting caught by the moons, but also bad for actually going to the moons when we want to and also not as good for landing and returning.

Bob: Yeah, and we'll be in perpetual sunlight which is good for power and for the greenhouse, but bad for that lab experiment that requires darkness.

Val: Why are you debating the merits of our orbit when you should be celebrating the fact that WE ARE IN ORBIT OF DUNA!!! WOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!

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That night, the KSC had a party the likes of which they hadn't seen since the earliest days of the Space Program- those first tentative steps into the unknown, launching probes and Kerbals alike into the sky in the hope that they'd stay there for a while (and then come back, in the case of the Kerbals!). Valmal produced a small bottle of  SpaceKaleTM vodka that she'd brewed along the way, which was tasted and by mutual agreement dumped out the nearest airlock. Such was the magnitude of the party that nobody had time to do the usual Probe Time! update; not that there were any probes to update about at that point, although the Super Relays that had previously ended up bunched in a line in solar orbit were all on the move via some weird resonant orbits and would be reassessed in a few years' time.

Spoiler
Spoiler

Far from the festivities on Kerbin, but close to the festivities on Interplanetary Ship 1, something else stirred in the darkness...

OVCOmNc.png

 

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So I decided to try updating this save from 1.12.1 to 1.12.2 to a) get ground anchors, b) get some bug fixes and c) because I wanted to. My last attempt at doing this ended horribly with many errors, but this time I decided to just make a copy of the 1.12.1 version I've been using so far, then just copy+paste 1.12.2 on top of it, replacing all duplicate files with the 1.12.2 versions.

Amazingly, this seems to have worked- the game loads, the save loads and nothing has thrown a million exceptions in the logs or exploded yet. I'll need to try it out a bit more to see if it's stable, but early signs are definitely positive.

And knowing my luck, by the end of this week 1.12.3 will appear :rolleyes:

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