• Published 20th Feb 2014
  • 2,492 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.

  • ...
5
 37
 2,492

(Pre-Rewrite) Chapter 2: These Are The Voyages...

B9k was not normally a pushy sort of individual. Just that was amazing, if one considered the fact that he was an AI. However, he was always referred to as a member of the crew.

Presently, however, urgency was driving him to ...

“ATTENTION! Vessel approaching warp exit point, all hands to warp transfer stations!” B9k started an exceedingly obnoxious klaxon to awaken any crewmembers that persisted in their slumber. “I repeat, all hands to warp transfer stations!”

Once this message rang out through the newly active intercom, the crew set to work preparing to drop out of FTL travel. All inessential personnel strapped in for any potential jolt that might be experienced, while the essential personnel scrambled and floated over to their consoles. Once there, they to strapped in and awaited orders from their commanding officers.

“This is Commander Jebediah, requesting confirmation from all sections. Are you in position?” Jebediah spoke into the intercom.

“Reactor Control, confirmed!”

“Capcom, confirmed!”

“Navcom, confirmed!”

“Roccom, confirmed!”

“Scicom, confirmed!”

“All sections green, Commander!” Bill started powering up the systems that had been left off for the voyage. “All readouts optimal!”

“Alright. All hands, brace for warp drive power-off!” Jebediah followed his own advice, just as Bill switched off the drive. A sudden blur was seen outside windows that had just moments ago been black. Stars, planets, asteroids, comets all came back into visibility as the ship slowed to what its velocity relative to the planet they were traveling to had been.

Which was still 20 kilometers per second. Way too fast for the planned aerocapture maneuver.

The flight plan from here on out was as follows. First, they fired the engines in a direction that was a combination of retrograde and radial out, to use the navigation terms, using almost 7,000 m/s of Delta-V to do a combination of decelarating the spacecraft to approximately 14 km/s, and lowering the periapsis into the atmosphere at an altitude of 70.5 kilometers above the ground.

They would then deploy the forward aerobraking shields while they retracted the twin “Balka-XL” solar panels attached to the flanks of the ship. The fore shields, when deployed, where 45 meters in diameter. The solar panels when deployed, however, were 2.5 km(1) in length across the ship. As such, the panels are retracted prior to the aerocapture maneuver. Once this was completed, they would re-extend the solar panels, and wait to come back around for one more pass before circularizing at an apoapsis of approximately 850 km. Once there, they would begin Phase 2 of the exploration of the planet.

“Beginning rotation towards maneuver node. Warming up MPD thrusters… Activating Reaction Control thrusters,” Bob said, never once taking his eyes off the controls. “Bi-propellant drain levels nominal.”

“Alright. Execute maneuver in T-minus 10,” Jeb began counting down the time until they would fire the engines for the maneuver. “10,”

“9,”

“8,”

“7,”

“6,”

“5,”

“4,”

“3,”

“2, engine warm-up complete,”

“1,”

“0! All engines firing!” Jeb’s entire body was gently shoved back into his seat as the 1,250 kilonewtons of force from the extremely power hungry engines at the bow. Only about two or three minutes later, the acceleration stopped.

“Maneuver complete, commander,” the voice of B9k rang out.

“Alright. Let’s get oriented towards prograde. Start extending the heat shields. Begin solar panel retraction,” Jeb ordered.

“Yes sir,” Bill and Bob said simultaneously.

“B9k, start a timer for aerocapture initiation. Make sure to make any course or heading corrections prior to the aerocapture. We wouldn’t want a repeat of what happened to the Atlas, now would we?”

“Of course not sir. Timer set,” B9k responded. “Heading locked into Universal Mechatronics Flight Computer.”

“Good,” Jeb said, his voice losing the commanding tone that had made him infamous in the Astronaut Complex. “Attention all hands, this is Commander Jebediah speaking. You may return to your previous activities.”

At this, the crew began to go back to what it was they were doing before the klaxon had rung out. Some returned to the crew relaxation area to play video games, watch the latest episodes of whatever TV show they happened to like, and maybe have lunch considering that it was 11:56 am, going by Kerbin Time(2). The rest went back to their quarters, to do whatever they really felt like doing. Lunch proper would be served at 12:00 pm, with Kirlak Verici(3) having been chosen to cook this week based on how well he had done on Saturday’s lunch.

“Hey, Jeb! What are you going to go do? I’m thinking of playing some games in the game hall,” Bill said, his voice going from its “on duty, doing my job” tone to a more jovial, social tone. “I also heard that they received the newest episode of Doctor Who(4), if you want to watch that.”

“I’m probably going to try and improve my high score in Ace Combat Zero(5), actually. I want to show the others why my nickname during college was Mobius,” Jeb replied, then shrugged. “Who knows, there may actually be a member of this crew who is better at Ace Combat then me.”

“Not likely, Jeb, but whatever floats your boat,” Bob spoke up. He was the quietest of the three brothers, and the least remarkable. While Jeb had been the teenage prodigy pilot (he had beaten the top ace of the Kerbin Defense Force’s Air Corps in a simulator at the age of 20), and Bill the genius scientist with PHDs in most fields, Bob had all but fought his way through engineering school, trying to get his way into the Space Exploration Corps on an engineering recruitment. He succeeded, and Jeb requested him as his second in command.

While Jeb was relatively personable when not on the job or off active duty during a mission, and stoic and determined while on duty, and Bill was slightly neurotic, prone to becoming absorbed in his work as a scientist, Bob was the balanced, personable engineer. As such, when planning maneuvers, they bounced ideas off of each other, resulting in them having a reputation of being utterly brilliant at operating spacecraft.

“Reconvene when the timer goes off?”

“Sure.”

“See you then.”





“Well, let’s see what we can see with the new telescope,” Twilight Sparkle thought to herself as she stood on the balcony of her library home. “I’m really happy I managed to get one of those new telescopes that are normally only available in the Crystal Empire!”

Twilight had recently purchased a special kind of reflecting telescope, which recorded what it saw to an enchanted crystal. The crystal could later be used to play back footage captured during observation. The drawback, however, was the sheer cost of the telescopes, as the crystals used were rare and precious, and the telescopes had to be hoof-made to the buyer’s specifications. Thankfully, Princess Celestia had given her the bits necessary to purchase a telescope from the business that sold them. She had gone for a telescope optimized for stargazing and astronomy.

However, getting it set up and turned on was another challenge altogether.

“Let’s see, so I push this to turn on the recording crystals, and push that to turn them off, but not that because you aren’t supposed to remove the playback crystal while it’s being recorded to. Okay, let’s test that it works as claimed.” Twilight turned the recording function on for about 4 seconds, then turned it off again. She knew what the section of sky she had pointed the telescope at had looked like, so it was a good test of whether it could actually record the sky or not. She pointed it at the projection screen as directed in the user’s manual, and activated the crystal. She also let out a squee of delight as the screen lit up with the night sky she had pointed the telescope at. “YES! It works!”

She quickly went back to the telescope, re-inserted the playback crystal, and started recording. The manual said you could safely record over old footage, and she would take them at their word for it. She looked up, looking for something interesting to look at when she saw something that just should not have been happening.

She saw an unscheduled shooting star. Normally, Princess Luna would give a heads up to most Equestrians when a shooting star was due, about where in the sky it would be, and when it would be visible.

“Actually, that looks more like a meteorite. It’s too big and too bright to be anything else. DEFINITELY worth a look,” she thought as she slewed the telescope to track the, U.F.O(6), as it would come to be called in common terminology. “Wait.... that doesn’t look right. It’s too flat-ish at the front, and definitely too uniform in shape. What the buck IS that?!” Her befuddlement was thoroughly justified, as she had seen meteorites, comets, and shooting stars through her other telescopes, and they were always irregular, rocky objects – simple debris. But this was not irregular in any sense of the word. If anything, it appeared artificial in its uniformity.

“I need to report this to the Princesses.”

“Spike! Need you to dictate a letter!” Twilight turned to walk into the library, turning off the recording and removing the playback crystal. Spike needed to see this as well, and showing it to the Princesses would ensure that they believed her.

“I just hope that this all goes over well...”

Author's Note:

(1) - I'm banishing the size limitations of KSP. The Falling Star's dimensions are as follows:

Maximum Length: 4.5km

Maximum width: 2.5 km with solar panels deployed, 45m with full forward shields deployed, but not solar panels (using the GE-4500 and GE-1600 for forward shields, with neccessary modifications for RSS, FAR, and DRE), whatever the retracted diameter of the GE-4500 is for maximum with neither the heatshields nor the solar panels deployed

(2) - Well, what did you think the Quantum Entanglement Communications Device would be used for?

(3) - Yes, I'm also not using Kerman as the surname of EVERY DARN KERBAL ON THE SHIP! It makes no sense!

(4) - If I name a TV show, it's really the Kerbal counterpart to the show I'm talking about. I see no reason why they can't share a name.

(5) - Same goes for video games

(6) - Unidentified Falling Object