KSK

First Flight (Chapter 107 - Starflower)

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On 1/16/2017 at 6:37 PM, Plecy75 said:

@KSK I couldn't have asked for a better thank you, and I shall return the favor. Sorry for not getting to it sooner

First Flight.pdf

I changed to using .pdf format so it isn't editable by third parties.

Again, I hope you continue writing, as your writing is some of the best I have ever read, not just on these forums, but anywhere I have read something.

I would also be glad to compile any of your future writings into downloadable .pdf files if you would like me to.

No apologies necessary - that was quick work!

And thanks once again for the kind words - hope the ending to First Flight works for yourself and everyone else on the thread! I'm not entirely sure what I'll be doing with any non-KSP fiction yet but if does go up on Wattpad or similar I'll happily drop any interested parties a PM.

Edited by KSK
dumb typos

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Story idea: Jeb and an as-yet-unnamed crew member go on a mission to Jool after getting some strange signals and seeing Vallhenge. they have to combat a murderous malfunctioning Mechjeb named KAL. (totally not ripping off 2001 here)

I'm just kidding, I would need to come up with an original idea before I take a crack at writing.

Edited by Plecy75

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...That feeling you get when you look back at the beginning and end of this story, and the real world.  It gets deep.

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On 15-1-2017 at 11:01 PM, JakeGrey said:

They do however present the slight logistical problem of getting the Orion-powered vessel into orbit in the first place, without letting off a bunch of nuclear warheads inside your own biosphere.

The atomic rockets site* actually has had a look at this. I'm pretty sure that somewhere in there they also tell how to launch without widespread nuclear fallout, but I'm not totally sure.

 

*http://www.projectrho.com/public_html/rocket/surfaceorbit.php  search for 'orion' and feel free to browse the site, as it's totally awesome!

Edited by superstrijder15

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On 1/16/2017 at 1:49 AM, KSK said:

Seriously - the real-life test reactors for Project Rover were nuts - check out the power outputs for their size.

Sigh... reading stuff like that and seeing how close we came to what might have been just makes me sad. ;.;

 

Anyways, we now return you to your irregularly scheduled storytime.  :D

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5 hours ago, CatastrophicFailure said:

Anyways, we now return you to your irregularly scheduled storytime.  :D

Heh. :) 

Next chapter is moving along. First draft for one section out of four is written but it was the toughest one (action scenes are hard yo) and likely the longest one of the four. I've figured out a way to set up the final section - I've had the dialogue roughed out for a while in my head but didn't really have a sequence of events to lead into and shape that dialogue. The other two sections are just outlines at the moment, which isn't great because they're also the most plot relevant ones. :) 

I think that's the thing I find hardest about writing. Overarching plot and general idea - OK. Detailed plot - OK. Dialogue - OK. Stage directions to move my characters through the plot without everything turning into huge slabs of dialogue - yeah that's the tricky bit for me.

 

Edit. Not intended to a be a defensive response to your post but having said I want to be stepping up the pace, I thought folks might like a quick update on the next chapter!

Edited by KSK

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Next chapter is up...
 

Hot and Cold

Elton’s leaves closed over Jonton’s head. Linking with the Kerm was effortless, although Jonton was unsure whether that was due to Communing with a sapient Kerm or to the lingering after-effects of his time spent an-Kerm. The familiar white light seemed deeper, more richly textured than ever before, and coloured in all the whites imaginable, from fresh paper to the soft fluff of an old kerbal’s hair. Then it faded into the background and Jonton felt himself surrounded by Elton’s presence.

<good evening, Jonton>

Good evening, Elton. Umm - Gerselle and Enely would like to join us if that’s alright?

<of course. They are always welcome> A hint of reproach. <you know this>

Jonton came forward, letting his link with Elton slip to the back of his mind. Across the room he saw Enely and Gerselle watching him anxiously from their bunks and flashed them a quick thumbs up. He waited just long enough to see the leaves descending towards their heads before giving himself wholly over to the link again. Moments later he sensed Enely and Gerselle joining the Communion and sharing an awkward greeting with Elton. 

<I am glad you are here, my friends. I have been waiting to speak to you all>

We…we’ve been waiting to speak to you too, Elton, Jonton said diffidently.

<perhaps we wish to speak of the same thing. I have been thinking about the Seeding>

The sense of relief from Gerselle and Enely flared brightly, both kerbals hastily damping down their emotions. Jonton felt the tension drain out of his own body, leaving him light-headed and faintly giddy.

<I sense that you too wanted to speak of this>

Very much, Elton. Very much indeed. If we could ask - what have you been thinking about?

<soil. From our memories I know that the world does not have enough soil for this Seeding. I know that kerbals fly to other worlds to find more. They do not think they will find it soon enough. I agree>

The three kerbals nodded.

<so now kerbals fight over soil. This has happened before. This always happens. But when Jonton and I were one, we shared our soil that another Kerm may live>

Yes, said Gerselle cautiously, We thought about asking more Keepers to become one with their Kerm so that they could share their soil too but we thought that becoming one would kill the Kerm. The original Kerm that is, the unawakened Kerm. Gerselle broke off helplessly. How can I explain this?

<I feel your confusion. Thinking about the I before I was difficult but now I understand>

But thanks to you we know better, Enely broke in. Becoming one with their Keepers could help all Kerm awaken from that I before I!

And that’s what we wanted to talk to you about, said Jonton. We think we can awaken all the Kerm - and then ask them to share their soil with the Kerm yet to seed. But we wanted to hear your thoughts first.

<there will be much danger. I remember your pain, first of my Keepers, and fear for the other Keepers. But to not do this will be worse> 

That’s what we thought, said Jonton. Myself, Gerselle, Enely and the other kerbals you have spoken to. He took a deep breath. But we will need more time. Some kerbals think the only way to buy enough time is to freeze the new Kerm seeds until we have enough soil to plant them.

<other kerbals think this is wrong. I know of this. Tell me, Jonton - has any kerbal planted a frozen seed>

Jonton blinked. I don’t know, he admitted.

We should speak to Erlin, said Gerselle. If anybody has, it’ll be somebody at the Berelgan.

I don’t know, said Jonton, I thought the Berelgan was mostly Kerm free for their experiments?

Enely laughed. Their experiments were outdated from the moment Elton awoke. He could tell them more about - what did Erlin call it, Kerm micro-ecology - than they’d learn from a hundred years of study!

<Erlin is a good kerbal - I would be pleased to help him. But first he must perform a last experiment for me>  Elton paused. <I do not like this my friends but we must know if a Kerm can grow from a frozen seed. On that, all else depends>

——————

The convoy drove southwest, across the plains and abandoned fields of northern Wakira, towards the Northern Highway. Truck after bright yellow truck rumbled past on heavy winter tyres, doors and roofs emblazoned with a Kerm leaf cluster in a circle of woven vines - the international symbol of disaster relief assistance used by all the Regionalities of Kerbin. Four aircraft circled high overhead, dark shapes against a crisp blue sky, flying a slowly shifting racetrack pattern, that kept them within spotting distance of the convoy. Three of the aircraft kept a loose wedge formation, their lone companion watching them from above.

“Recommend we come round another five degrees, boss and pull in the northbound leg of the loop. We’ll still have eyes on the convoy but I’d be happier keeping a little extra airspace between us and Firesvar.”

Val glanced at the map clipped to her kneeboard and automatically checked her instruments. “Good call, Ferl. Cal, Gil, on me.” She tipped her Cloudrunner into a lazy bank. “How’s everyone doing ground-side, Gil?”

“Nervous,” said Gil briefly. “Don’t blame them either, drivin’ through a war zone and all lit up in yellow. I’d feel a little hard to be missed, myself.”

“Guess that’s the point,” put in Cal. “When somethin’s that big of a target there’s no excuse for not missing it.”

The rest of the squad could almost hear Gil rolling her eyes. “Just you worry about not hitting the ground, Cal. Leave the thinking to those that can do it.”

“Hey - I was just saying!”

“I got an inbound here, boss,” Ferl announced, “Maybe a couple - hard to tell at this range.”

Val snapped to attention. “Direction?”

“Bearing eighty-five relative. Coming in dead straight.”

“Firesvarn then. Gil - get a sitrep to the convoy, then join us on IF1 in case the inbounds have anything to say. Keep it together, Vanguard - we’re on the right side of the border and we’re here with a medical aid convoy. No need to get rattled.”

Cal swallowed hard. “Copy, boss. No need to get rattled.”

Suddenly a new voice crackled out from all four Vanguard radio receivers.”Hostile aircraft, this is Firesvarn Airborne Defence Force. You are in violation of Firesvar regionality airspace. Acknowledge message and return to your nearest airfield.”

Val keyed her microphone. “Firesvarn Airborne Defence Force, this is Commander Valentina Kerman, Vanguard patrol, Kolan border security. We are in clear Wakiran airspace on medical escort duty, flight plan Wakira One Five Bravo, repeat Wakira One Five Bravo. Requesting acknowledgement and clearance.”

“Denied, Vanguard. You are on illegal overflight of Firesvarn territory. Return to your nearest airfield now or we are authorised to remove you by force.”

Val’s mouth went very dry. “Firesvarn Airborne Defence Force, our instruments and maps put us fifty - five zero - kilometres south of the border. Vanguard patrol respectfully requests clearance to proceed.”

“Negative, Commander. Maps have changed.”

One Firesvarn pilot waggled his wings, then abruptly peeled away from his commander, swinging wide then rolling level, lining up on the Kolan planes. Both pilots flipped back a cover on their control sticks, gloved thumbs reaching for the buttons underneath. Four under-wing pylons sprang open, releasing four slim tubular shapes studded with stabilising fins. 

Three solid rocket motors ignited with a roar. A jammed steering vane sent one missile corkscrewing wildly through the sky. Seconds later, onboard sensors tripped a switch and the out-of-control rocket tore itself apart in mid-air. A fourth missile failed to start and tumbled away harmlessly towards the ground whilst high overhead two smoke trails lanced through the sky.

Ferl’s threat warning systems shrieked in his ear. His eyes snapped to his radar screen, widening at the two clear returns still several kilometres distant. “Inbound! Break, break, break!”

Instinctively, Val rolled inverted, hauling back on her control stick and throttle and sending her Cloudrunner into a screaming dive. The g-forces crushed her into her seat, canopy and cockpit instruments blurring at the edges of her vision. The pursuing missile wavered for instant, its target’s sudden change in direction momentarily confusing it’s sensors. Then it steadied, target reacquired, nose pulling round and down to intercept.

“Speak to me Ferl! What we got?”

“I got nothing! Got a heat return then nothing! Inbounds are still way out of range!”

Val pulled out of her dive, jinking hard left then right, head twisting in all directions. “Cal, Gil - you see anything?”A roar of static and an abruptly cut-off scream drowned out Cal’s reply.

“…oh Kerm-oh-Kerm-oh-Kerm! Gil’s down - no chute! No chute!”

Val’s stomach turned to ice. Keep moving, keep moving… She slammed her aircraft into another turn, a quicksilver bright something in the distance flashing past the corner of her canopy and out of sight. “Something on my tail! You reading anything, Ferl?”

“Negative, boss! No emissions, no returns, no visuals!” 

“Copy. Both of you - hard moves. Whatever it is - keep it off your back!” No emissions…no emissions. Behind her oxygen mask, Val’s eyes widened in sudden understanding. Instinctively she wrenched her throttle back to idle power and pulled her aircraft’s nose up into a zoom climb. The Cloudrunner reared skywards, rapidly shedding speed, teetering on the brink of a stall. Val’s grip tightened on the throttle lever…

The missile wagged from side to side, seeker head trying to reacquire the heat source so abruptly whisked away from it. Milliseconds later, its guidance system concluded that the target was lost.

The detonation flared in Val’s rear view mirrors. Fragments of white-hot steel whickered through the sky, shredding tailplanes and engine cowling alike. The Cloudrunner bucked wildly, tipping onto one wing and tumbling into a flat spin. Val took one look at the constellation of warning lights across her instrument panel, braced herself against her seat and pulled the ejection handle. 

The cockpit canopy blasted clear and was promptly whipped away by the slipstream. A fraction of a second later the ejector seat fired, hurling Val free from her plummeting aircraft. The howling wind battered at her flight helmet, pinning her against the seat backrest, harness straps digging painfully into her flight suit. Automatic retractors whipped in the straps around her calves, tight enough to nearly cut off the circulation to her legs.

The next handful of seconds hurtled by in a blur of sharp, popping explosions, deafening wind, and gut-wrenching changes in direction and speed. Val clenched her teeth, not even daring to scream in case the next tooth-rattling jolt removed her tongue. Then it was all over. The seat fell away from under her, leaving her bruised, battered but alive; hanging against the sky, survival pack dangling from her waist.

The impact drove the wind from her body. Jaw set against the pain flaring across her ribs, Val shrugged out of her harness and began to gather up her parachute.

—————

Geneney closed the door to the Mission Control Centre and stood for a moment, letting his eyes adjust to the darkness. Light streamed from the windows of VAB 1, illuminating the lines of kerbals filing quietly into and out of the main doors. Across the Space Centre grounds the dark bulk of VAB 2 and its machine shops blotted out the night sky, all construction work for Pioneer 7 on hold although not, Geneney hoped, for long. He rubbed his eyes, yawned hugely and set off in search of a mug of djeng.

Letting himself in through the side door, Geneney blinked at the closed canteen door and the light spilling out of the windows. The television was on, casting flickering shadows over the far wall. Curiously he peered through the nearest window, heart suddenly sinking at the sight of the lone figure staring at the screen, a drift of abandoned and, Geneney suspected, largely ignored papers scattered over the table in front of him. He closed his eyes for a moment then, squaring his shoulders, quietly pushed open the door.

…shot down whilst escorting a medical convoy. The surviving pilots report being fired on by guided rocket weapons although Wakiran and Kolan officials have not yet commented on the truth of those allegations. Statements from the ruling Councils of both Regionalities are condemning the attacks in the strongest possible terms…

“Evening, Jeb.”

Jeb turned his head, staring listlessly back at him. “Genie. You’re up late.”

Geneney walked over to the kitchen cupboard and retrieved a mug and a sachet of djeng. “Just off the late shift for Prospector 1,” he replied, pouring boiling water into his mug. “Habitation module’s holding up well. You want a coffee?”

Jeb shook his head. “Not for me. Not getting much sleep as it is.”

Geneney sat down opposite him and took a cautious sip. “I know that feeling,” he said. “I always need something to dilute the console coffee before bed too.” He made a face at his mug. “Even if it’s just a djeng. The powdered stuff that Derny came up with seems to be keeping the crew happy though.” He watched Jeb’s face but his friend’s expression didn’t even flicker. “Anyway - you’re not exactly having an early night yourself?” The question hung in mid-air.

“Early or late - makes no difference,” said Jeb. “Doesn’t help the sleeping.”

Geneney saw his eyes flick towards the television screen. “Do you want to talk about it?” he said gently.

For a second, a spark of defiance flared in Jeb’s eyes but was quickly snuffed out. The veteran kerbonaut slumped in his chair, seeming to fold in on himself. Eventually he lifted his head, staring helplessly at his friend through hollowed-out eyes.

“Don’t worry about it,” Geneney said quietly. “I just thought it might help is all.”

“I think it might,” said Jeb finally. He twisted his fingers together, leaning back in his chair. “Wish I knew how to start though.”

“The beginning is always a good place,” said Geneney. 

Jeb shot him a miserable look. “This is going to sound stupid but I think that would be Pioneer 4. At the time I told myself I was just being an idiot - I was finally off to the Mün for Kerm’s sake, something I’d been dreaming of since the Institute. The thing is, Genie, even back then I knew Lodan had plans for us - and sitting out there on the pad just felt like we were waiting for the end.”

Geneney nodded. ”And then seven days later…”

“It was all over,” finished Jeb. “Years of junkyard rocketry, shoestring budgets, deals, planning, building, flying and dreaming - done. Finished.” The old Jeb danced briefly behind the hollowed-out eyes. “We sure went out in style though.”

“In peace for Kerm and kerbal,” murmured Geneney. Jeb’s expression turned bitter. 

“Yeah. In peace for Kerm and kerbal. Except we didn’t quite manage that little detail did we. The landing, Obrick’s big speech. None of it made any difference.” Jeb gestured at the television. “We got a war anyway - and every day it just keeps on getting worse. We built rockets to explore the universe, Genie. We never meant them to be used for shooting down planes or murdering each other.” Jeb’s eyes blazed. “But we did that just fine! We built a stupid, lashed together, scrapheap of a rocket trainer - and we let Ornie fly it.”

Oh Kerm. “That wasn’t your…”

Jeb rounded on him. “Wasn’t my fault? It was all my fault! I was there first, Gene - I got to him first. And what did I do?” Tears spilled from the corners of Jeb’s eyes and he swiped them angrily away. “Nothing! That’s what. Some kerbonaut. Some ‘beacon of the kerbal spirit’. A fraud who fell apart when he was needed most!”

“No,” said Geneney firmly. “A friend who did the right thing. You didn’t know how badly he was injured; moving him could have made things worse. There was nothing else you could have done, Jeb.”

The fire went out of Jeb’s eyes. “And that’s the worst part,” he said dully. “Doesn’t matter how often I tell myself exactly that - it doesn’t help.”

“Of course it doesn’t,” said Geneney, “Wouldn’t expect it to.” He looked at Jeb sympathetically. “It sounds like a dreadful cliche, old friend but I think you need a holiday. Have a break, maybe go for those sailing lessons you always meant to take. Or we can set you up a workshop next to Roncott’s. Somewhere you can just build stuff like in the old days. If you want something more constructive, there’s no shortage of Pioneer parts you could start on. Take it easy - if a day doesn't feel like a working day then don't worry about it.” He squeezed Jeb’s shoulders. “Most of all, if you ever need to talk, we're always here. Me, Bob, Bill, any of the gang.”

Jeb stood up, walked over to the television and switched it off. “Thanks, Genie, that’s… good of you. He looked at Geneney hopefully. “Think I’ll have a djeng myself, stay up a while longer then try and get some sleep. Are you good for staying up a bit longer?”

Geneney forced a smile. “Of course. Like I said, Jeb - we’re always here.”

——————

Halsy punched a code into the combination lock and opened the laboratory door. He flicked the lights on and stepped aside for the others to file in behind him. Gerselle looked around curiously, taking in the the rows of bottles on their shelves and the workbenches full of glassware, mysterious boxes and other, more complicated looking pieces of equipment. A pair of tall refrigerated cabinets stood against one wall, next to a rack of gas cylinders. A forest of tubing connected the cylinders to a long glass fronted cabinet that occupied most of another wall.

Obrett pointed at the refrigerators. “You keep them in there?”

Erlin nodded. “Yes. We’ve been collecting them for some time, mostly from Spierka and Forseti I believe although I wouldn’t be surprised if we have some from elsewhere. Discreetly of course - we don’t advertise the facility for obvious reasons. Personally, I suspect the Veiidan diplomatic bag has carried more than one or two but naturally, we don’t ask.” 

Halsy walked over to one of the refrigerators and opened it. Gerselle caught a glimpse of shelves and what looked like thick glass spheres. Halsy lifted one of them onto a nearby bench before quickly closing the refrigerator door again. Close to, Gerselle saw that the sphere was actually two flattened half spheres clipped together along a thickened rim and topped with a glass tap. Inside, a Kerm seed rested on a metal grille.

“Vacuum desiccators,” Erlin explained. “We use them for drying out samples in the lab but with a couple of modifications they work well for storing Kerm seeds. The seeds themselves are pretty robust - the hard part was working out the right combination of temperature, humidity and atmosphere to preserve their fibrous coating. We can’t keep them under vacuum of course - which is why the desiccators are clipped shut instead.”

Obrett squatted down and peered at the seed. “Nitrogen?” she asked.

“Mostly,” Halsy answered. “With some carbon dioxide and just a trace of hydrogen sulphide. We found that the fibres got too badly damaged if we cooled them down to normal seed storage temperatures, so we use a higher storage temperature along with hydrogen sulphide to lower their metabolism.”

Gerselle frowned. “That must have taken a lot of experimenting to work out,” she said. “How did you…”

Halsy smiled. “Don’t worry,” he said. “Even in these desperate times we wouldn’t experiment on live Kerm seeds. He led Gerselle over to the long cabinet. Inside Gerselle saw rack after rack of sealed flasks holding fragments of matted fibre in various states of decomposition. At the back of the cabinet, clusters of syringes hung from clamps, each of them connected to one or more taps by a thin rubber tube. Another bundle of tubes connected the flasks to a larger, insulated pipe protruding from the cabinet wall.

“This is just a mockup of course,” said Halsy, “but we thought you - and Elton - would be interested in seeing how we ran the experiments. All the flasks are nitrogen cooled with a water jacket to stop them getting too cold. That bunch of syringes all connect through to these gas cylinders here, letting us inject whichever mix of gases we like into a flask. As for the tissue samples…” Halsy bowed his head. “We recovered them from the Blight, or rather our colleagues at the Accident Investigation Department did.”

Gerselle looked at Gusemy who gave her a grim look in reply. “We did,” he said quietly. “Just after the first villages were Blighted, I had Erlin do some research in the Berelgan archives. It quickly became clear to both of us that long term storage of Kerm seeds would be needed before the end of the Seeding, to give us enough time to find a solution to the crisis. The Department began an urgent search of any new Blighted areas for seed fragments. At the same time we began construction of a storage facility on the Spierkan coast. As soon as Erlin’s team had a reliable storage protocol we began saving seeds. We thought they would be safe there.” Gusemy’s expression darkened. “We were wrong.”

Erlin sighed. “We were.” He shook his head. “But hopefully this planting will begin to change that.”

“If the Kerm survives,” said Gerselle.

Erlin bowed his head in acknowledgement. “Indeed.” He picked up the desiccator with both hands, holding it carefully level. “Shall we?” 

Everyone nodded. Halsy picked up a large, round-bottomed flask and filled it with water. He followed the others out of the laboratory, switching off the lights and locking the door behind him.  

The drive out to the planting site was sombre, each kerbal lost in his or her thoughts, not even commenting on the newly completed Dunan agronomy complex. Erlin stared at the Kerm seed in his hands, Halsy cradled the flask of water in his. Sitting in the front with the driver, Gerselle was surprised to see a sizeable crowd of Berelgan staff waiting for them by the side of the road.

As soon as the van stopped, two kerbals stepped forward to open the doors. Obrett and Gusemy climbed out first, then helped Erlin and Halsy out. By the time Gerselle joined them, the crowd were  forming up into two lines to let them through, Erlin and Halsy in the lead. As they set out across the field, the two lines merged into a solemn procession behind them.

The planting site was marked by a single spade thrust into the earth. Gerselle pulled it out with a grunt of effort and set to work digging a shallow trench, measuring its depth against the spade handle. Satisfied, she stepped back and watched Erlin step forward. He knelt, placing the desiccator on the ground beside him. The crowd held its breath as he opened it and lifted out the fibre-swathed Kerm seed. Working quickly, he placed it in the trench, packing earth around and over it before tamping it down with his spade. He stood, accepting the flask of water from Halsy.

Erlin paused, gazing round at the crowd, one hand hidden behind his back. Then he solemnly up-ended the flask over the patch of fresh earth. Silently, Gerselle watched him uncross his fingers.

Edited by KSK

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Poor pilots. Why were they shot down south of the border? And escorting a medical convoy, for Kerm's sake! International law clearly dictates that humanitarian aid, and/or military units protecting/escorting said humanitarian aid, are not to be damaged or harmed in any way, even if a war is happening. This makes no sense.

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Wow..... I haven't kept up with this story much but from what I'm seeing here, these guys are jerks! Shooting on a medical convoy?! COME ON GUYS! HAVE SOME KINDNESS IN YOUR HEARTS!!! The Kerneva Convention is going to get all up on y'all...

Oh, and @KSK, is it okay if I use this general chapter idea for a chapter in Civil War?

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2 hours ago, DarkOwl57 said:

Wow..... I haven't kept up with this story much but from what I'm seeing here, these guys are jerks! Shooting on a medical convoy?! COME ON GUYS! HAVE SOME KINDNESS IN YOUR HEARTS!!! The Kerneva Convention is going to get all up on y'all...

Oh, and @KSK, is it okay if I use this general chapter idea for a chapter in Civil War?

Sure - go ahead.

And yeah, Firesvar have certainly escalated matters. More on this to come. The problem is - and in a funny sort of way it's a nice problem to have - is that 'my' kerbals haven't fought any kind of a war for who knows how long and they're really not very good at it. As we've seen in the last chapter they're only just starting to bring purpose built warfighting vehicles into play and even the Firesvar guided missile technology isn't so effective once you get past the shock and awe effect. 

Sadly, the darker side of that lack of experience is that they don't have any internationally codified rules of war either. So - no Kerneva Convention here I'm afraid, or rules governing escort of non-combatants. :( 

Edit: If you're curious, read up on the AIM 9 Sidewinder. The Firesvar missiles are roughly on a par with the first versions of it. Thanks to the space program, their guidance systems aren't bad (and they have constant-angle-to-intercept or 'proportional pursuit' algorithms) but they have very basic infra-red sensors (no fancy all-aspect seeker heads here) and right now they're pretty much using prototypes so their quality control leaves a lot to be desired.

Edited by KSK

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What a great new chapter! Even better is that it is going to leave @KSK the choice to either end it quickly, with the seeds working well after freezing, or to do some more, with it not working (well (at this moment of research)) Of course I'd root for a slower conflict resolution :D

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3 hours ago, KSK said:

Sure - go ahead.

YAY!

3 hours ago, KSK said:

And yeah, Firesvar have certainly escalated matters. More on this to come. The problem is - and in a funny sort of way it's a nice problem to have - is that 'my' kerbals haven't fought any kind of a war for who knows how long and they're really not very good at it. As we've seen in the last chapter they're only just starting to bring purpose built warfighting vehicles into play and even the Firesvar guided missile technology isn't so effective once you get past the shock and awe effect

Uhm, sorry for not really paying much attention to the story (I just started getting notifications and I thought "Coolio; story!") and so I don't really know much of the backstory. Could you tell me what chapter these hostilities really started at?

3 hours ago, KSK said:

Sadly, the darker side of that lack of experience is that they don't have any internationally codified rules of war either. So - no Kerneva Convention here I'm afraid, or rules governing escort of non-combatants. :( 

GAHDANGIT!

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1 hour ago, DarkOwl57 said:

Uhm, sorry for not really paying much attention to the story (I just started getting notifications and I thought "Coolio; story!") and so I don't really know much of the backstory. Could you tell me what chapter these hostilities really started at?

Honestly, starting at the middle leaves a lot to be desired. Without understanding the motivation of the warring factions, it's hard to appreciate what the war means to them. Without knowing the pressures on them, it's hard to justify their motivation. And for that, you need to go way back.

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4 hours ago, KSK said:

Edit: If you're curious, read up on the AIM 9 Sidewinder. The Firesvar missiles are roughly on a par with the first versions of it. Thanks to the space program, their guidance systems aren't bad (and they have constant-angle-to-intercept or 'proportional pursuit' algorithms) but they have very basic infra-red sensors (no fancy all-aspect seeker heads here) and right now they're pretty much using prototypes so their quality control leaves a lot to be desired.

I was really expecting the first air combat to go down more like this:

You just had to go shoot down Val, didn't you? :huh: I suppose next mission she'll be bringing along a flare gun & roll of aluminum foil.

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2 hours ago, DarkOwl57 said:

Uhm, sorry for not really paying much attention to the story (I just started getting notifications and I thought "Coolio; story!") and so I don't really know much of the backstory. Could you tell me what chapter these hostilities really started at?

Not a problem - there's quite a lot of backstory to catch up with at this point, much of it setting the scene for the hostilities! There's a chapter listing at the start of this thread so, if you don't mind, I'll just reference the chapter numbers here rather than try and post a lot of links using a tablet (not easy for the fat-fingered :) )

if you don't mind spoilers, then chapter 31, Echoes of Time is a good place to start. It's a potted history of the kerbals, covering stuff like the Kerm trees - and why they're important, the origins of the 'Kerman' surname and, ultimately what the fighting is all about.

Chapter 34, Uncharted, is where it starts becoming clear that hostilities may be a possibility. The relevant part is right at the end of the chapter so feel free to skip ahead if you like. Chapter 39, Stormclouds, describes some of the initial buildup to hostilities, which become more widespread in Chapter 46, Preemptive. Then the mulch hits the impeller in Chapter 49, Lightning.

Chapter 55, If you cut us..., describes the aftermath of another battle and again, this all happens at the end so skip ahead if you like. The cost is counted in the next chapter, One Small Step.

Chapter 61, Children of Kerbin describes a critical incident that ultimately prompts Firesvar to invade. War is declared in chapter 70, Shaking the Pillars and the last four chapters are all about the ongoing war.

There's probably a few more bits and pieces scattered through other chapters but those are the main ones I think. I tend to include sections from different points of view in each chapter, so there'll be a fair bit of extraneous story in there too, as well as the war stuff.

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4 minutes ago, KSK said:

Not a problem - there's quite a lot of backstory to catch up with at this point, much of it setting the scene for the hostilities! There's a chapter listing at the start of this thread so, if you don't mind, I'll just reference the chapter numbers here rather than try and post a lot of links using a tablet (not easy for the fat-fingered :) )

if you don't mind spoilers, then chapter 31, Echoes of Time is a good place to start. It's a potted history of the kerbals, covering stuff like the Kerm trees - and why they're important, the origins of the 'Kerman' surname and, ultimately what the fighting is all about.

Chapter 34, Uncharted, is where it starts becoming clear that hostilities may be a possibility. The relevant part is right at the end of the chapter so feel free to skip ahead if you like. Chapter 39, Stormclouds, describes some of the initial buildup to hostilities, which become more widespread in Chapter 46, Preemptive. Then the mulch hits the impeller in Chapter 49, Lightning.

Chapter 55, If you cut us..., describes the aftermath of another battle and again, this all happens at the end so skip ahead if you like. The cost is counted in the next chapter, One Small Step.

Chapter 61, Children of Kerbin describes a critical incident that ultimately prompts Firesvar to invade. War is declared in chapter 70, Shaking the Pillars and the last four chapters are all about the ongoing war.

There's probably a few more bits and pieces scattered through other chapters but those are the main ones I think. I tend to include sections from different points of view in each chapter, so there'll be a fair bit of extraneous story in there too, as well as the war stuff.

Thanks! You're a lifesaver

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1 hour ago, CatastrophicFailure said:

You just had to go shoot down Val, didn't you? :huh: I suppose next mission she'll be bringing along a flare gun & roll of aluminum foil.

:)  

I have plans for Val - I think they'll make up for having her shot down! Besides, she was pretty badS - figuring out and darn nearly defeating (through sheer seat-of-the-pants flying skills) an entirely new weapon system.

1 hour ago, DarkOwl57 said:

Thanks! You're a lifesaver

You're welcome. If you'll forgive the shameless plug though, @0111narwhalz is right - the war makes a lot more sense if you've read the rest of the story.

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I think at this point, it's not so much "mulch hitting the impeller" as much as "detonating C4 encased within an enclosure of fresh fecal matter and isocyanides." :wink:

This chapter was especially good.

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33 minutes ago, KSK said:

chapter 31, Echoes of Time is a good place to start. It's a potted history of the kerbals, covering stuff like the Kerm trees - and why they're important, the origins of the 'Kerman' surname and, ultimately what the fighting is all about.

Had to go back and revisit this one, since it was mentioned, a good distillation. (Eyebrow wigs. :cool:) But... can you expound on the etymology behind an-Kerm?

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9 hours ago, CatastrophicFailure said:

Had to go back and revisit this one, since it was mentioned, a good distillation. (Eyebrow wigs. :cool:) But... can you expound on the etymology behind an-Kerm?

Sure.

In Old Kerba, an is a case marker indicating belonging or inclusion and, when used as a prefix, roughly translates to 'of the' or 'within the'. When used as a suffix (and this is quite a general feature of Old Kerba), it translates to the opposite, so. 'not of the' or 'outside of'. So a Kerm-an (or kerman for short) is somebody outside of, or apart from, the Kerm whereas an an-Kerm is somebody within or a part of, the Kerm.

Similarly olia is a general term for fighting or disputing. When used as a prefix it translates to 'attacker of something', when used as a suffix it becomes 'defender of something'. That 'something' doesn't have to be a physical object in the same way that you can attack somebody's opinion in English. So an olia-Kerm is an attacker of the Kerm, conversely a Kerm-olia (or kermol for short) isa defender or protector of the Kerm.

Expanding on this a little (fresh from the department of extemporaneous worldbuilding :) ), we can examine the word bar-katon (or Barkton for short) in more detail.

Kat is the noun for 'forest', bar is a case marker that roughly translates to 'possession of' and on is (yet another marker) signifying dependence. So on-kat signifies some kind of dependence on the forest, whereas kat-on signifies independence from the same. Thus, bar-katon (by convention only the first hyphen is included) translates to 'possessing an independence from the forest', or more simply 'freedom from the forest'.

Note that one might equally well write on-katbar, or literally 'not possessing a dependence on the forest.' Grammatically, that would be perfectly correct, although bar-katon is more emphatic. In English it would be the difference between 'CatastrophicFailure is not evil' and 'CatastrophicFailure is good'.

Edited by KSK

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Never before have I seen an author so involved in their story that they explain the language..... Incredible

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