KSK

First Flight (Chapter 99 - The Needs of the Many)

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Okay, my predictions weren't even close! I was not anticipating a Merge, let alone a mind-shattering. What few strands of thoughts I'd had don't match the result. I knew something bad had to happen to keep the Law of 37 intact, but I was not assuming full Awakening to self-aware. A mind forming, then overloading, much like many frying circuits. This is uncharted territory.

Age of Sail, bringing Kerm seeds to new land, as well as learning of the histories of Kermol and Kerman, a strong experience, an unusual intensity to what is happening. Breaking the Law of 37, a possible new Age of Madness if something is not done.

Predictions... Kerm seeds added as cargo in an Age of Fire. Finding a new world for the Kerm to thrive.

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Hmmm. Having had a night to absorb exactly what happened, this sounds like one of those events that explain why the Traditional Chinese characters for 'crisis' are a combination of the characters for 'danger' and 'opportunity'. Suppose the Kermol were to break the Rule of Thirty-Seven in a controlled fashion, with a group of volunteers already communing with the Kerm tree to help it ride out the initial shock of achieving full sapience? Imagine how much the kerbals could learn about their history, or their environment! This could be as big a paradigm shift as the day a kerbal sets foot on the Mun.

Of course, they've got to figure out how to disentangle Jonton without killing him or the Kerm first.

Anyway, great work as ever KSK.

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KSK lifts the veil from (a part of) the dark past of the Kerbal-Kerm society...

I'm suprised they didn't instute a 'law of 36'. Any transgression can be fixed by cutting one down without risking the death of a Grove.

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Hey folks,

Some great comments on the last chapter and some intriguing ideas on where the story is going - thank you all very much! Also, 'Worldsmith' is a great word and I'm flattered to be called one. :) Madrias, if you get a moment to PM me I'd still be keen to see your predictions - I think they'd be good feedback.

OrtwinS - that's an excellent point about a 'law of 36' and it might well come to that!

In the meantime, if you'll forgive a spot of post-hoc rationalisation, I'd say that historically, the Law of 37 was found through trial and error by fairly primitive kerbals who were content to know that the law worked without worrying too much about why. After that, promulgating a new law that required the cutting down of a Kerm (even to prevent a greater tragedy) would have been culturally unlikely. Lots of reasons - in part it would be seen as a regression to the 'barbaric' past, in part it would be sheer weight of history (the kerbals have been Kerm symbionts for a very long time by now) and in part it I like to think it would have been natural repugnance at deliberately mutilating a conscious being that you can share emotions and experiences with. Not to mention that you can ask said conscious beings for bountiful harvests - and get them! If you can get miracles to order - you don't bother questioning them. :)

Edited by KSK

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Definitely a 'WOW' moment. That is some exquisite story telling there KSK. One thought, if Johnton keeps holding the Kerm's mind together, and someone else were to plant more cuttings, could he guide it through the meld until it's increased mind could hold itself together? Stave it over the perilous times? The whole thing would be risky of course, but after surviving the first splintering, perhaps, just perhaps, the Kerm can grow even further without danger?

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Hey Jack,

Welcome to the thread and thank you for the kind words! Likewise, thanks Patupi - an enlarged Kerm is another intriguing possibility for sure.

I tell you folks, I'm not sure there'll be any surprises left at this rate - somebody on this thread is bound to have thought of them, long before I get that far with the story. :) Which is actually pretty cool, although hopefully there'll be some twists and turns in the details that you don't see coming!

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I've got a few ideas in mind, but I'm not sure how accurate they are.

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Heh - until this morning, that wasn't a bad summary of where I was at. :) The last chapter was rather like the Moho 1 flight - a lot of the story had been leading up to that point and since then I've been in a 'OK that's done - now what?' frame of mind. I knew where I was going but was floundering around trying to figure out how to get there.

After a burst of creativity this morning though (helped in no short measure by the enthusiastic comments here), I've got a rough sequence of events for the kermol story arc that I'm pretty happy with. I certainly don't plan to stick to it at all costs but I find it helpful to have something to kick-start the writing again. Of course, the kermol arc is just one of several - much pondering required on the others still. :) But yep - I'm pretty stoked at the moment!

Edited by KSK

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Heh - until this morning, that wasn't a bad summary of where I was at. :) The last chapter was rather like the Moho 1 flight - a lot of the story had been leading up to that point and since then I've been in a 'OK that's done - now what?' frame of mind. I knew where I was going but was floundering around trying to figure out how to get there.

After a burst of creativity this morning though (helped in no short measure by the enthusiastic comments here), I've got a rough sequence of events for the kermol story arc that I'm pretty happy with. I certainly don't plan to stick to it at all costs but I find it helpful to have something to kick-start the writing again. Of course, the kermol arc is just one of several - much pondering required on the others still. :) But yep - I'm pretty stoked at the moment!

Glad to hear it, KSK! Eagerly awaiting the next chapter!

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someone NEEDS to make a short paragraph or 3 long summary. this is far to long for ANYONE to read in a human lifetime.

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You don't (like to) read much, do you?

It's not even novel-length yet.

I've been reading from the start, and I could probably re-read it all in an hour or two.

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I recently re-read all of it in roughly 45 minutes to draw conclusions on where I thought the story was going. I'd be scared to see the reaction to a real book, or series of books. Then again, I am the guy who read all three Lord of the Rings books in 5 hours...

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Woah - LOTR in five hours is good going.

I was curious enough to do a quick search and found this site of word counts for famous novels. No idea how accurate it is though. For comparison, First Flight currently weighs in at just over 100K words. So yeah, not really novel length considering the genre.

123nick - if you want a very top level summary, First Flight is my take on the early years of the Kerbal Space Program, starting almost literally from 'parts found lying by the side of the road' and gradually progressing to more organised and ambitious flights. At the same time, it's also my take on the kerbals themselves, the world they live in, the society they've built and some of their history.

I don't really want to go much beyond that. A three paragraph summary wouldn't tell you much more than that three line summary and I'm reluctant to do a more detailed one before the story is finished. I think everyone is getting something slightly different out of First Flight so far and I don't want to risk spoilering anyone at this stage.

Hope that makes sense.

Cheers,

KSK.

Edited by KSK

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I'm certain some people have read LotR in shorter time than I have, I just pride myself on my fast reading speeds. I'd gotten banned from one of our local bookstores (sadly long since gone) because they'd have a "free reading hour" which was, supposedly, to get you hooked on a book bad enough to buy it. My personal challenge was to see how many books I could read in that hour. Shortly after, I discovered mystery novels, which are about the only thing I read slowly because I'm trying to figure out the end before I get there.

First Flight is a story, for me, that I'm reading like a good mystery, but unlike a good mystery, I can't be tempted to flip to the end of the book and see how it turned out.

I suppose, that's why I'm so interested in the Kermol stories more than that of the KIS/Rockomax rivalry. We almost know how the KIS/Rockomax story turns out, we've got the game, and it's merely a matter of what happens in that span. But we know nothing of the Kermol other than what KSK tells us, which makes them more interesting. Add to that this interesting plot twist, and predictions running through my head at just under the speed of light, and I've got a brain-melting situation where I'm trying to figure out everything possible from one key point.

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Holy mackerel... What a story, KSK! I've read a lot of Mass Effect fan-fiction, but I never would have guessed that I'd find myself reading one about KSP. This is right up there with the best that I've read, and I had to make an account on the forums just to tell you how much I enjoy reading this masterpiece you're unfolding, and of course to subscribe! Keep up the good work, and I look forward to the next chapter. Riveting!

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*blinks*

Celerystick - I don't know what to say - 'Glad you're enjoying it' doesn't seem adequate somehow! Many thanks indeed for the enthusiasm and I just hope I can keep that going as the rest of the story unfolds.

Madrias - hope your brain hasn't gotten too molten! There should be some good material coming up for the KIS/Rockomax story arc but you're right - it's harder to be quite as creative on that front. Hopefully there should be a couple of twists and turns to it yet though. :)

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Wow. Just... Wow. KSK, you have a great gift. Don't stop writing.

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Thank you!

I'm not planning to stop yet although Gerselle and Donman have been rather lost for words until today. :)

Pages of notes are all fine and good but they don't help much when you can't figure out how to get started.

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If you can write more stories like this one, then you could become a professional writer. :) If I ever needed a job, then I would ask to be your editor.

-Duxwing

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Thanks Duxwing. :)

Next chapter is up.

Right of Conclave

Gerselle's legs buckled beneath her and she collapsed bonelessly onto the floor.

Silently, Donman helped her to her feet and gently led her over to the bed. He pressed his half empty cup of water into her hands, closing her fingers tightly around it. “Drink this," he said. “Trust me - it helps." And we could both use a little help right now.

Jonton's tear reddened eyes met Donman's in silent thanks. Gerselle took a hesitant sip, hardly noticing as her trembling hands spilt most of the water down her shirt. She drained the cup and put it to one side.

“I don't understand, Jonton," she said. “Breaking communion doesn't kill a Kerm and it certainly doesn't kill it's Keeper." She laughed nervously, “Otherwise there wouldn't be any Groves left on Kerbin."

Jonton began to speak but Donman held up a hand. “Let me try," he said quietly. “I need to make sure that I understand." He paced back and forth, his footsteps suddenly very loud against the floorboards. Where do I even start.

“You know about knitting," he said at last. “One Kerm tree alone is barely more intelligent than any other tree. Thirty seven together creates a being with feelings, memories and thoughts and the rudiments of personality. A little like a luffa maybe or perhaps one of the treebeasts of Spierka. So why not more? Forty, fifty or even a hundred? Why don't we have a single enormous Grove on each continent made of thousands of Kerm linked together into one super-being?"

“The Law of...", began Gerselle.

Donman nodded. “Indeed - the Law of Thirty Seven. But laws are a kerbal creation, Gerselle. Why should the Kerm obey them too?"

“They don't," said Gerselle, “Grove law is just a collection of instructions." She laughed shortly. “More like a collection of warnings. Jonton and I found out the hard way the true reason for planting Groves a day's walk apart."

“The Law of Territory," said Donman, “The second oldest law on Kerbin, after the Law of Thirty Seven."

“Well that certainly explains why we couldn't find either of them in the Archives," said Gerselle tartly, “Are you going to get to the point, Ambassador?"

The Kerm leaves rustled behind her. “Gerselle...", said Jonton.

Donman shook his head. “It's quite alright." He looked at Gerselle. “Thirty seven Kerm have the beginnings of personality and the barest inkling of self. A thirty eighth Kerm is enough to tip the balance towards full self awareness but it all happens too fast to control. Awareness unlocks a storm of disorganised and disjointed memories and the new personality simply doesn't have time to make sense of them before it breaks under the strain and shatters.

Gerselle blinked. “Oh," she said in a small voice. She thought for a moment. “What happens to the old Kerm?"

“It dies," said Donman bluntly. “A long painful death I imagine."

“Far worse than that, Ambassador," said Jonton bitterly. “It endures a long painful life. Remove the thirty eighth tree and the broken fragments of mind will eventually heal, although the healing is rarely complete. We... I was one of the lucky ones that survived mostly unscarred. A lot of us weren't so lucky and for many many others it was kinder to burn them to the ground than to let them live."

The leaves around Jonton's head lashed back and forth in agitation. “I think some of my kerbals must have tried to help the Shattered Groves. I can still remember the screaming as the broken Kerm pleaded for the fire." His face twisted. “Although perhaps those are just my own memories. Right now its hard to tell."

Gerselle gaped at him. “Your kerbals, Jonton? And which shattered Groves?" She buried her head in her hands, grimacing as her fingernails dug painfully into her temples. “I don't understand any of this!"

Jonton and Donman looked at each other. Donman dipped his head in acknowledgement.

“My kerbals," said Jonton at last. “Or our kerbals. Sometimes it seems like both at the same time."He closed his eyes. “Do you remember the black spots on the leaves?"

Gerselle's face was still hidden but Jonton saw her nod.

“I still don't know really what they meant but as soon as I saw them we feared the worst. Even then, I think my kerbal got here just in time."Jonton groaned. “we... I went into communion just in time to witness us, me, our... the Kerm shattering. Somehow I absorbed the fragments."

Jonton's voice shook. “A fragment. Such a poor word for a hundred years or more of somebody else's thoughts and dreams and memories smashing into your mind. I don't even know how many there were - I just remember everything going black and then a voice screaming Bad tree! Bad tree! A precarious anchor to reality but just barely enough to stop me Shattering too. I managed to open my eyes and saw Joenie pummelling our trunk."

Jonton lifted a hand and peered at it curiously, watching the pull of tendons under the skin as the fingers flexed.

“We remember telling you to witness my right of Conclave," he said “and then you vanished. Ever since then I've been trying my best to... protect is a good word. Yes, protect the shards and try to make some sense of them."

Gerselle lifted her head and stared at him. “And have you made sense of them, Jonton?" she asked.

Jonton plucked at a leaf. “A little bit," he said. “There's an awful lot to make sense of, love."

“Do you know how long it took for the Ambassador to get here, Jonton?" said Gerselle. “Nearly three days. I've been worried sick, Joenie has been crying for her father every night. How much longer will it take, Jonton!"

The colour drained from Jonton's face. “Three days," he whispered. “No... no it can't be that long."

“I'm afraid it is," said Donman quietly, “Believe me, I came as quickly as I could." He paused. “You just said that a Shattered Kerm will heal in time. If the shards are safe, why can't you break communion now?"

Jonton looked at them helplessly. “I can't," he said. “Neither of you have any idea what I'd be condemning them too. Besides, it's not..."

Gerselle rounded on him furiously. “It's not what, Jonton! Not as simple as a choice between some tree and your family? Between some tree and Joenie!" She stopped as Jonton's face crumpled, tears welling up in his eyes.

“...that simple," he said in a choked voice. “The shards are melting Gerselle. Some of my memories are still mine, most of them are still Kerm but the edges are blurring. Believe me, I'm trying to stop them but it's getting harder and harder to know whether I'm remembering something as Jonton-the-kerbal or Jonton-the-Kerm." He paused. “More often there doesn't seem to be any difference. It's all just Jonton."

Donman's eyes widened in alarm. “All the more reason to break communion now!" he said, “Before you lose yourself any further."

The last tear trickled down Jonton's cheek. “I think it's already too late, Ambassador," he said, “We're a Kerm of thirty nine now. Thirty eight trees - and one kerbal."

Donman's eyes flicked from Jonton to Gerselle and back again whilst he struggled to find something, anything to say. Not that I have any real choice, he thought. Kerm hah knows this won't be easy for them but for the sake of all Kerbin I think that poor kerbal needs to stay exactly where he is.

“How are you going to eat," he said at last, “If you can't break communion?" Stupid question Donman, he thought, He can still move his arms, so he'll eat just like any other bed-bound kerbal. He was surprised to hear Jonton laugh.

“That's the least of my problems, Ambassador. Look."

Jonton pulled aside the leaves from around his waist and Donman suddenly felt the acrid taste of bile in the back of his throat. The things that he'd taken to be roots coiled around the Keeper's legs weren't roots at all but some kind of gnarled vine. The tip of each vine had split into a dozen or so tendrils and all of them had burrowed into Jonton's torso. Some of them grew straight inwards, whilst others tunnelled under his skin in hard, ridged weals before disappearing under the surface.

Well now you know Donman but oh sweet Kerm I'm going to be seeing that for far too many nights to come. He was dimly aware of a soft scream and Gerselle collapsing onto the bed beside him with a thump.

“It looks worse than it is really," said Jonton. “I don't even feel hungry any more. That was quite a distraction for a while you know. Obviously I couldn't really have been hungry with the Kerm looking after my needs but my empty belly refused to believe it at first." His voice suddenly rose in alarm.

“Gerselle! I'm fine, truly I am!"

Donman's head snapped round in time to see Gerselle's eyes roll forward in their sockets.

“It's no worse than going into communion; the connections are just a little thicker that's all!"said Jonton urgently. He grabbed one of the vines and tugged it. "They don't hurt - this doesn't hurt!" His voice softened. “Come here, my love, come here."

Mechanically, Gerselle picked herself off the bed and walked towards him. Jonton pushed the leaves to one side as best he could and held out his arms to catch her as she stumbled towards him. Deftly he caught her and wrapped his arms around her, pulling her into a tight embrace. The Kerm leaves rustled and twined protectively about the two kerbals.

Donman stood up. “Do you have a telephone I could use?", he asked quietly.

Jonton nodded at him over Gerselle's shoulder. “On the table in the kitchen," he said. “Thank you, Ambassador."

---------------

The kerbal on the other end of the telephone sounded sleepy and more than a little put out.

“Desrigh - it's Donman. Sorry to wake you at such a ridiculous hour but is Corsen there please?"

“A-ambassador? Of course. He'll be right with you."

The mumbled words coming down the line were too indistinct for Donman to make out but their tone was clear enough. He held the receiver away from his ear for a moment until he heard the distinctive click of somebody picking up a second handset.

“Ambassador? Where are you?"

“Still at the Grove. It's been an...unusual night. Listen Corsen, I need an advisory meeting with the rest of the Council at their earliest convenience."

All traces of sleep vanished from Corsen's voice. “Do you mean an emergency meeting, Ambassador?"

“No - an advisory meeting will be fine."

“Understood, sir. Should I give a reason?"

“I'm authorising the Right of Conclave for one of my constituents. Please advise the Council that due to unforeseen circumstances, my constituent will not be able to attend in person."

Corsen's gulp was audible. “I'll see to it immediately, Ambassador."

“Thank you, Corsen. I'll be at Bar-Katon airport in two hours."

“I'll book you on the next flight, sir. Usual message at the executive desk." Corsen paused, “Bar-katon, sir?"

“Barkton. Slip of the tongue, Corsen. Like I said, it's been an unusual night."

------------

Donman tapped on the sleep room door before cautiously peering into the room. Gerselle and Jonton were deep in conversation and he was relieved to see that Gerselle's face had regained some of it's colour. She's resilient. Thank the Kerm for that much. He coughed politely.

“Jonton, Gerselle. I need to leave now."

Jonton bowed as best he could. “Of course, Ambassador. Thank you for taking the time to see us."

Donman smiled faintly. Just like that. A little social call to smooth out a minor problem or two.

“My pleasure, Keeper. You'll be glad to know that your right of Conclave has been granted but I trust you'll have no objections if I petition the Twelve Pillars on your behalf?"

“It would be an honour, Ambassador. Please convey my apologies to the Council for my... indisposition."

Donman's voice was suddenly serious. “I've convened an immediate session of the Council, Jonton. I shall do my best to explain but I shall also formally recommend that each of the Pillars pay you a discreet visit. You may consider your unreserved cooperation to be a mandate from the Council."

Gerselle bowed. “Naturally, Ambassador."

Jonton nodded solemnly. “Of course, Ambassador."

“Very well." Donman paused. The usual Kerm-related pleasantries seem woefully inappropriate tonight. “Good luck, Keeper." He turned to Gerselle.“And to you also - Keeper."

-------------

The steaming grass swished underfoot as Donman made his way through the park. Curliques of mist eddied around the graceful arches of the Capital building and swirled around the feet of the statues decorating its twelve outbuildings. Kerbol had barely lifted above the horizon and the flag of all Kerbin fluttering from the topmost flagpole fluttered against a cerise streaked dawn sky.

A trail of rapidly drying footprints marked Donman's progress across the central plaza. He dipped his head politely to the two Capital Guards standing silently by entrance and strode into the main atrium. Hurrying through the outer gallery, he pulled up short by the Council chamber doors, braced himself and then nodded to the guards.

The thud of closing doors broke the muted buzz of conversation from the Council table and eleven pairs of eyes followed Donman's silent progress towards the podium. He took a firm grip on his lectern, took a deep breath and lifted his head to face them.

“Misters President, mesdames President, honoured chief Ambassadors. We are assembled here today to grant the ancient Right of Conclave."

“I have answered the petitioner and I deem his request worthy and to be made in sound mind. Let the record note that the petitioner is indisposed and that I, Donman Kermol, have elected to speak for him. This I shall now do and I beg that the Twelve Pillars give his petition all due consideration and support." Here goes nothing.

“Five nights ago, I was summoned to a small Grove near Barkton..."

Donman watched the phrases of his carefully prepared speech roll over the Council. The mood around the table swiftly built from stony disapproval to mild curiosity, astonishment and then outright shock, laced with no small amount of raw fear.

Good.They get it. No need to labour any of this any further.

Aldwell's voice broke the stunned silence. “Thank you, Ambassador Donman. We hear the petition of Jonton Kermol and beg you retake your place as a Pillar of the Council."

Enomone spoke up next. “Let's get the minor business out of the way first. I trust we all agree that by right, this Council should hold Jonton Kermol guilty of two violations of Grove law? However, on careful reflection it seems to me that the first violation was made inadvertently during the faithful and compassionate observance of his duties and the second has brought upon him a greater punishment than anything this Council is mandated to impose. I therefore respectfully vote that the violations be struck from the record and that this Council proceed to the next item of business."

“Seconded," said Aldwell. “I further suggest that this vote be decided by show of hands rather than formal ballot. Let any who disagree with President Enemone raise their hand now or forever remain silent."

“Very well. Let us strike Jonton Kermol's transgressions from the record and move on. Ambassador Burvis?"

“How much time do we have Ambassador Donman?"

“I don't know," said Donman frankly. “I did ask but as you'll appreciate, it was difficult to get a definite answer from Jonton in his current state of mind. If the Council concur, I shall return to his Grove on my way back to Barkton and see if I can find out."

“Thank you, Ambassador Donman." Burvis looked at the faces around her. “In the meantime, I suggest that we be pessimistic."

President Chadlin drummed his fingers on the table thoughtfully. “Do we actually know how many Groves there are on Kerbin?" he asked.

Burvis frowned. “You know, I'm not sure we do," she said slowly.

“I think that should be our next question," said Chadlin, “We need to know the size of the problem we face before we can devise any reasonable answers."

“I agree," said Burvis, “but how do you propose to count them?"

President Obrick smiled and tapped the table for attention. “Very easily, Madame Ambassador. We live in a time in which kerbals have sent artificial satellites to photograph the far side of the Mün! I'm sure the same ingenuity could be applied to counting Groves from space." He glanced at Chadlin. “I shall pay a visit to Director Lodan immediately after this meeting."

Chadlin nodded. “Rockomax?"

"Lodan will have his own views but Rockomax would be my preference." Obrick looked at Burvis. “Your pardon, Madame Ambassador. Rockomax Corporation are one of the few organisations capable of launching the required spacecraft. Under the circumstances I believe they would the best choice."

“Hmph," said Burvis. “What about that other lot? The Kerbin Interplanetary Society or whatever they call themselves."

“Technically they're more than capable," said Obrick, “but I think Rockomax would be the more discreet option for the moment."

Enemone cleared her throat. “President Chadlin's comment is eminently sensible but I'm unsure where it leaves us. President Obrick's proposal sounds plausible but cameras in outer space can't help us conjure up extra space on Kerbin. What happens next? What do we do with our census of Groves?"

“It puts an upper limit on the problem," said Aldwell. “Assuming one seed per Grove, we know how much more space we need. I think we can safely assume that we don't have nearly enough but it's still better to know."

“I think we can do better than that," said Donman. “If we can count Groves from space, I presume we can also make a map of Kerbin from space?"

“Yes," said Obrick. "Unless Director Lodan has any new tricks hidden behind his ears, we would use the spacecraft to thoroughly photograph the whole of Kerbin, stitch the photographs together to make a map and then count the Groves on the map by hand."

Donman nodded. “In which case, why not use the map to work out the best sites for planting new Groves, making the best use of the available space?"

“We could even allow a certain amount of overlap," said Burvis carefully. “If the ground between planting sites isn't much good anyway, then what harm in setting it aside for the Kerm to squabble over, if it lets us pack more Groves into the available space?"

There was a sudden silence.

“I'm not sure I agree," said Donman slowly. “It would be stressful for both Kerm and Keeper - and we would run the risk of Shattering. We'd be taking an awfully big risk."

Enemone snorted. “We're not going to deal with this without taking some awfully big risks," she said.

The discussion grew steadily more acrimonious until at last Chadlin banged on the table for attention.

“This is pointless," he snapped, “We can argue about the details all we like but we all know there simply won't be enough room for all the new Groves. So what then my esteemed colleagues? What do we do when there's no room left at all?"

“We find a new place to live," said a quiet voice.

Obrick's heart sank. I knew somebody would suggest this sooner or later.

“It's a bold plan, President Lanrick," he said “and psychologically speaking it's an attractive one." He scrubbed his eyes with the back of his hands. “The practicalities however, are daunting to put it kindly."

“Oh I'm certain it wouldn't be easy," said Lanrick,“but surely if the whole of Kerbin were behind the proposal?"

“Even then it would require an extraordinary effort for no guarantee of success," said Obrick. “And we'd better hope that Ambassador Burvis's comments regarding pessimism turn out to be unfounded too. Make no mistake, Mr President - your proposal could take decades, if not longer."

“I understand that," said Lanrick, “but surely we could find some way of preserving the Kerm seeds until we've prepared the ground for them off-world? A cold store or some such facility."

Obrick blinked. “That might work,"he said cautiously. “Would you agree, honoured Ambassadors?"

Aldwell shook his head vigorously. “Would you put a kerblet into cold storage?" he asked. “Putting a Kerm seed there would scarcely be better. These are intelligent beings, Mr President; we don't simply lock them away in the dark for inconveniencing us."

“Ridiculous," said Burvis. “A Kerm tree is intelligent certainly but a Kerm seed is no more intelligent than one of my eggs. Far better to preserve the seed than condemn the Kerm to a short, brutal life of insanity."

“You may believe that, Madame Ambassador," said Aldwell “but I fear that you would find your opinion in the minority."

“And I believe that you'll find that most kerbals have enough common sense to see that I'm right!"

Obrick lifted his hands placatingly. “Please, dear colleagues. Cold storage is only an option if President Lanrick's audacious proposal becomes a reality - which is far from certain."

Aldwell scowled. “Let the record state that I am firmly against the notion, space programme or no space programme."

“And let the record also state that I am firmly against an irrational prejudice threatening the future of our world," said Burvis acidly.

“That is enough, Madame Ambassador!" Donman thundered. “You will apologise to Ambassador Aldwell for that unseemly outburst!"

Burvis glared at him and then grudgingly dipped her head to Aldwell. Aldwell stared at her expressionlessly before dipping his own head in response.

“Very well," said Donman, “I suggest we adjourn this meeting for twenty minutes to let everyone cool off. President Chadlin - would you be so kind as to summarise the results of this first session."

Chadlin stared down at his notes. “Ambassador Donman to arrange a further meeting with Jonton Kermol; reason, to establish timescale for Kerm seedings. President Obrick to meet with Director Lodan of the Kerbin Space Agency; reason, to order the launch of a mapping satellite into Kerbin orbit. If I may make one further comment, let the record state that I think each and every one of us should arrange a visit to Jonton's Grove. We have forgotten too much of our history good kerbals and it would behoove us to correct that grave mistake as soon as possible."

Donman stood up. “I second President Chadlin's comment and add my recommendation to his. In the meantime; we need ideas and we need them now. I declare this meeting adjourned and look forward to reconvening it in twenty minutes."

Edited by KSK
Typos and tags

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Hoooly ****! Now, THAT's what is going to actually push KIS and Rockomax and everyone else into the *Kerbal* Space Program. Ladies and gentlemen, this is how you close up an Act I, and we are finally JUUUUUUUUST getting started. Well played, sir. Well played.

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This story turned into dark-horror for a few moments.

I'm Glad the solution will include/require the 'light, simple and safe' blasting of high-tech equipment into hostile alien environments using explosive mixtures that are counted by the tonne.

Also, KIS got overtaken by Rockomax on professionalism. We saw this coming but it still hurts.

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Also, KIS got overtaken by Rockomax on professionalism. We saw this coming but it still hurts.

At this point, it sounds like jeb will have the last laugh: since such a massive amount of personal, materials, and expertise is needed, it would be stupid to let the companies to continue to compete. It would make sense to combine KSA, KIS, and rockomax as soon as possible.

Now we just need a background story for Kerbodyne (considering the ... LARGE presence that they will have in the market).

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