• Published 20th Feb 2014
  • 2,651 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.

  • ...

(Pre-Rewrite) Chapter 4: Rising Dawn

Within the command module of the Falling Star, saying the mood was tense would have been like saying that the ocean was wet. The discovery that the planet was inhabited had caused excessive amounts of consternation, as they had been attempting to avoid disturbing any wildlife. The fact that said wildlife was almost certainly fully intelligent and sapient on top of having also most certainly seen their aerobraking made this a thousand times more difficult. They were still hashing out a new plan long after they normally would have gone to bed.

Their original flight plan would have gone something like this: First, they would have pulled into a stable parking orbit around Geos. Then, after deploying mapping satellites and figuring out where the ore and kethane(1) deposits were, they would land a small habitation and command module at a site with both ore and kethane, along with mining equipment and processing equipment. They would then use that equipment to build a SSTO spaceplane, powered by RAPIER engines burning liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen, to be used as an ascent module, and for shuttling the next crew down. They would also use it to transport materials to and from the base on the ground, things like food, rocket components, and other materials. At this point, they would concentrate on completing all of their scientific objectives, and would leave once these were completed, leaving behind all of the equipment for use by potential future missions. Although most of this was still viable, the first landing was made much more difficult by the fact that there was intelligent life on the planet below. All aboard, along with Mission Control back home, were in agreement that there would likely be no problem with leaving the equipment behind, because it could be rendered inoperable either remotely or with precision orbital weapons(2) deployments to destroy the site.

“Commander, I may have a solution,” B9k began. “If we have a winged, atmospheric engine equipped hab module that flies down to a landing instead of a powered, drogue-chute assisted habitation module as was initially planned, and performed the landing during the night, we could, in theory, prevent the noise from the engines from carrying too far; minimizing the chance of being spotted by the native lifeforms.”

“That’s going to be one hell of a maneuver to pull off, B9k, are you sure it can be done?” Jeb asked. “I may be a good pilot, but I am not a miracle worker.”

“Sir, you managed to achieve 100% score on the training mission that you were presented with when you applied to join the KDF. A test that, I might add, you were intended to fail(3),” B9k said. “Discounting the time you bested the only 5 times ACE of the KDF’s Air Corps in a training simulation - While he was flying an FA-172 Damocles. Your aircraft? An A-101 Thunderstrike(4). Your flight record is almost perfect.”

“Thanks for throwing me under the bus,” Jeb muttered under his breath. He was not looking forward to this. “Get Bill on the line. I want to talk to him.”

“Certainly, Commander. Opening communications link,” B9k recited. “Communications link established.”

At B9k’s affirmation, Bill appeared on the screen in front of Jeb.

“Hello Bill. How is setup going at Serenity Base?” Jeb asked, leaning back into his chair, his hands steepled in front of him.

“Fairly well. I see that you’re upset about something?” Bill responded, taking note of Jeb’s expression. “I will admit that this is probably going to be the most historically significant thing I’ve ever done, but I’m more nervous than excited.”

“B9k has come up with a ‘solution’ to how we are supposed to stealthily land the base,” Jeb said discontentedly.

“What did he come up with?” inquired Bill, somewhat glumly. “Wait, don’t tell me. He suggested a glide-in/powered landing, didn’t he...?”

“Yes, he did,” Jeb answered. “He also brought up my piloting skills. He’s basically appointed me the pilot for the landing.”

“Hey, cheer up. At least you will be the first kerbal to walk on Geos(5),” Bill said.

“Still no way I can talk you into doing it?” Jeb asked, his voice becoming a bit less tense. He had hoped that this would be the mission were Bill got to make history, not him or Bob; Although the fact that the crew had voted for him to do it made having Bill do it much harder.

“Not a chance,” Bill said, a touch testily. “Anyway, Serenity Base is coming along nicely. We’ve got all but the spaceplane assembly structure built. Should be done in about 4 or 5 days.”

“Well, when it’s finished, you know how to contact me,” Jeb said.

“Yeah. Talk to ya later, Jeb,” Bill said, and waved good bye to Jeb.

“See ya, Bill.”

Things had become somewhat hectic around Ponyville after Twilight Sparkle’s discovery. The princesses had commissioned a new observatory to be built upon a nearby mountain, which, combined with the project to remodel the Castle of the Night, as Princess Luna’s castle was officially known, caused Ponyville to begin to become something of a small city, rather than a town.

Currently, a small, indigo alicorn filly was making her home from the recently remodeled Ponyville schoolhouse, along with some of her best friends....

“Seriously, y’all, Ah really have no clue why they chose the mountain near Ponyville to build that, observa-whatchamacallit,” said Apple Bloom.

“Observatory,” Nyx corrected, with well-learned immediacy. “Mom says it has something to do with that weird shooting star that was spotted last week.”

“Isn’t it weird that Princess Luna didn’t spot it before it showed up?” said Pipsqueak. The little piebald colt had been utterly shocked when he had heard that Princess Luna hadn’t spotted it.

“Yeah, that was one of the reasons that they’re building the observatory. Something about the princesses wanting astronomers there to be able to observe shooting stars and such easier,” Nyx said. “Hey Scoots, what do you think about it?”

Scootaloo shrugged. “Meh. It’s sorta cool, I guess. I thought that shooting star thing was really cool, though! What if that was an alien spaceship or something?!”

“That doesn’t seem plausible, Scootaloo. This isn’t a comic book, you know,” Sweetie Bell asserted confidently. Her confidence and self-esteem had taken a massive upturn with the unveiling of her cutie mark. In fact, the three original Cutie Mark Crusaders had all become much more self-confident.

The fact that Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon could no longer bother them about their lack of cutie marks had had something to do with it.

“Yeah, but - ” Scootaloo started, but paused. “Hey, I just had an idea; how cool would it be if we really were in a comic book?!”

“I guess that would be cool,” began Dinky, setting off a large discussion of the pros and cons of living in the world of various comic books and movies, which continued until they reached an intersection at which their paths home diverged.

“Well, I’ll see you guys tomorrow at the club house. Are any of you as glad that school’s finally out for winter break as I am?” Nyx inquired pleasantly.

The group shared a chuckle, and slowly dispersed out to their various homes. Nyx herself went to the Golden Oaks library, where she lived along with her mother Twilight Sparkle, her brother Spike, and their pet owl, Owlowiscious.

“Hey Mom, I’m home!” Nyx shouted as she entered.

“Hey, Nyx! How was your last day of school for the next two weeks?” Twilight asked, poking her head out from the trap door down into the basement, where her lab/research area was. “Just going over some things down here, I’ll be upstairs in just a moment.”

“It went pretty well," Nyx replied. “I’m going to go and listen to music in my room.” With this, she headed upstairs to listen to her favorite albums by Sapphire Shores, with Peewee close behind.

Once Nyx was upstairs, Twilight went back down into her lab. Scattered about were various star charts, maps and charts, alongside images of the object she had seen. Images of various other objects it had released and sent off over the week littered any flat surface.

“Just what are you?” she wondered aloud.

Author's Note:

(1) - Replace ore with all of the ore's needed to produce the metals used in rocket components and kethane with the raw materials to make most of the propellants they would need for planetary exploration and space launches.

(2) - They could build weapons using the various assembly structures on both the Moon and the ground

(3) - As you may have guessed, Jeb played a LOT of Ace Combat and HAWX when he was younger. When the test simulation dropped him into a very canyon filled environment, with his opponent being thirty enemy aircraft, he immediately dived into the canyons. A full 20 of the 30 dashed themselves against the walls of the canyons in the first 30 seconds. 5 of the remaining ten were blown from the skies either by missiles or by Jeb taking quick shots at them from 6 o'clock low when he got the chance. The remaining 5 were shredded by Jeb's guns when they flew in for a head on pass

(4) - Closest counterpart to the Damocles is the F-22 Raptor. The A-101? The good-old A-10 Thunderbolt II.

(5) - It's what the Kerbals call the planet. You were expecting overly long number sequence following some random letters?