• Published 20th Feb 2014
  • 2,656 Views, 37 Comments

On A Falling Star - Ash19256

On a night unlike any other, the stars seem to fall, and reveal something amazing: Ponykind is not alone in the universe. And the neighbors have just come calling.

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Chapter 1: Onward! A Grand Adventure Awaits!

"For decades, Kerbalkind has fought amongst itself. 150 years ago, we chose to stand united, all of Kerbalkind under one banner. Now, we have found evidence that our world is not alone in it’s ability to support life as we know it!” President Yeltsovich’s voice bellowed, as images of a Kerbin like planet appeared on the screen behind him.

“Now, we stand at the cusp of a new golden age! A new Renaissance! I have ordered the development and construction of a new form of starship, one which will carry explorers farther than ever before. Simultaneously, I have introduced a bill into Congress which will quintuple the KSEA’s research and development budget, with encouragement to develop technologies that will allow us to set up a base on any world, and adapt to any situation as it happens! New communications technologies that will allow our explorers to remain in contact, even over more than 40 light years distance! And a means of faster than light travel fast enough to make the journey in our lifetimes!” He shouted triumphantly.

“Now, we prepare to send explorers to boldly go where no Kerbal has gone before!” The speech ended, and the cheering of the crowd began.

Jeb smiled as he listened to the recording of the speech. He sat in his ready room, reminiscing about that day. He had been in the crowd, carried on his father’s shoulders. It had been almost 30 years since that fateful day. The day that had inspired him to join the Kerbin Space Exploration Agency’s astronaut corps when he grew up. There had been some troubles along the way, but that day had remained the best day of his life from his childhood to the present.

It was the year 2306. Jeb was the commander of the first mission to the planet known commonly as Geos. His twin brothers were part of the missions command staff. Life was good, even in space.

On the ground, it was the closest thing Kerbalkind had ever achieved to a true utopia. Crime was at an all-time low. Theft had become a near thing of the past, with the introduction of RFID chips that could be implanted in your hand to replace your driver’s license, credit and debit cards, your house keys, and just about anything else that required an individual ID. Murder was a rare occurrence that always attracted the attention of the media, if only because it was so rare. Jeb could count the murders in the past year on one hand, and all of the cases that spawned from them had been solved.

His ready room was a nice bonus, serving as a mix of Captain’s Quarters, auxiliary conference room, and personal lounge. Although, part of the reason he had agreed to this assignment was the fact that the Endeavour, as the ship was called, had proper artificial gravity. The boffins at KSEA’s Brighton Jet Propulsion Laboratory had realized that even with their revolutionary warp drive, capable of travel at 20c, the trip alone would still take just over two years. And the two planets wouldn’t be that close for another 8 years, which was the planned mission duration. Add in another two year trip home, and you were looking at 12 long years that the crew would be spending weightless with the exception of when they were on the ground.

As such, the habitation module of Endeavour was actually a giant, multi-level centrifuge. It had a functional radius of 600 meters from it’s outermost wall to it’s rotational center, 1.2 kilometers from the front of the useful space to the back of it, and separated into 4 decks, each 3 meters tall. The floors were half a meter thick, and the walls a full meter, crammed to bursting with data cables, power cables, water pipes, and ventilation ducts. Every 30 meters there was a 0.75 meter by 0.75 meter hole in the ceiling/floor housing a ladder for going from one deck to the next.

Deck 1, the innermost deck, was what the crew of 80 had taken to referring to as the Green Deck, due to the greenhouses which would provide the crew with vegetables, and help convert the carbon dioxide created by the crew back into oxygen, along with partially purifying the water output from various other areas.

Deck 2 was sleeping quarters and some of the recreation systems. The recreations systems were part of the mission planners’ concessions to the limits of Kerbal psychology. The systems contained everything from single server variants of various multiplayer competitive and cooperative games, to various first person shooters, to over six hundred other games, along with hundreds of different movies and television shows. The idea was to give the Kerbals on the mission a way to take out their frustrations without harming anyone or anything in the real world.

Deck 3 housed the rest of the recreation systems, the laboratories for the scientists, the kitchen, and most of the exercise facilities. There was an actual elevator system for carrying prepared trays of food down to the mess hall on Deck 4.

Deck 4 was also known as the Command Deck. It housed the Endeavour’s mission command module, where the command staff would coordinate crew activities and the automated components of the mission, along with the mess hall and the final part of the exercise facilities, the jogging track.

All of this was wrapped in a layer of aluminum and titanium, with an outer shell of hydrogenated polystyrene over a half a meter thick layer of tungsten extended 1.5 meters from the hull to serve as a Whipple shield. The Endeavour’s life support systems were contained in the inner portion of the ring, shielded from micro-meteorites and radiation by the outer portion, and by the modules in front of and behind the habitation section.

To the front of the habitation section were the docking rings. The non-rotating rings housed service docking ports for up to 48 Class 7 spacecraft. These could be anything from a Maelstrom class mining rig to a Voyager class inflatable habitat module, each weighing upwards of 100 metric tons each and requiring heavy duty power, fuel, and data hookups. It also had 12 Class 7B crew transfer docking ports. These could allow anything up to a Draco class Heavy Crew and Cargo Transfer Shuttle to dock, whilst still providing power, fuel, data, and life support hookups.

To the aft of the habitation section was what the crew had taken to referring to as the counterweight section. It rotated in the opposite direction from the habitation section, and weighed exactly the same despite it’s smaller size. It housed the secondary batteries, primary communications equipment, and the technological marvel that let them have such a small crew on such a massive vessel.

“B9, what’s the status on our fuelling and supplies loading? Estimated time of departure?” Jeb asked, remembering he needed to make a status check every hour.

A calm, accented voice issued from the speakers on his desk. “Fuelling will be complete in approximately 1 hour, 3 minutes, and 45 seconds, Supplies are loaded with the exception of the perishable goods that require cryogenic storage, which are waiting for fuel loading. Deuterium and Tritium are on standby for loading once the reactor’s coolant has been fully loaded, estimated time to completion, 2 hours, 8 minutes, 23 seconds and counting. Heat pipe radiators are operating at maximum efficiency, all systems are nominal. Projected time of departure, T-minus 8 hours, 52 minutes, 44 seconds and counting.”

“Status on the shuttles and modules being loaded?”

“The three Draco class heavy shuttles have been loaded, along with the 6 Mirage class recon SSTOs, the Explorer class mobile assembly building is giving the spacedock crew some difficulty, and the other 23 modules are loaded and locked for departure.”

Jeb frowned. The Explorer was the first of it’s kind, a deployable nano-assembly structure. If it was damaged, the mission would fail miserably. “Tell Bob and his team to suit up, get out there, and help them get that settled. Any damage to the Explorer is a functional mission kill before we’ve even left spacedock.”

“Acknowledged, sir.”

Jeb reclined back into his seat, a smile on his face. Soon, he would be literally boldly going where no Kerbal had gone before. “B9, would you please start playing the opening theme for Star Trek: The Next Generation, sans vocals?”

“Acknowledged sir. Music starting now."

“Space, the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Endeavour...”

Crystal Palace, Crystal Empire
8:26 PM Crystal Mean Time, 12:26 AM Trottingham Mean Time

Nyx walked over to one of the windows in the Crystal Palace, and looked up. She was starting to get a little sleepy, but that wasn’t too much of a problem. She was still running partially on sugar from the cake that Pinkie and the royal bakers had made to celebrate Spike and Bright Eyes’ victory.

She smiled. She had been expecting this to just be a visit with family, but it had been one heck of an adventure instead.

She wondered what her next adventure would be. And as her mind wandered, a shooting star streaked unnoticed across the sky.

‘I just hope it’s something fun...’

Author's Note:

Chapter 1, re-written! Also, just a heads up, any shows or games that show up that share a name with a real world counterpart are merely undergoing Translation Convention.