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Past of the future, future of the past...

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by mgrgfan, Aug 15, 2018.

  1. mgrgfan

    mgrgfan Active Member

    Past of the future, future of the past...
    Chapter 8. The sky's not the limit.


    Author's warning: a suicide is attempted in this chapter. Proceed at your own risk.


    If computer systems could've been bored, the avionics of the "Hauler" would've been bored for sure. For more than a day, it was slowly doing small burns here and there, carefully deorbiting after having been unloaded, while also trying to evade space debris. Despite being impacted at several points already, automatics deemed the damage acceptable and went on with soft landing program, instead of simply deorbiting craft in they way it will burn and break apart.

    Right now, as Rayquaza was no longer of any concern and Minior posed not much more danger than debris - even less so, in fact, as they were actively trying to avoid collisions.

    Back on Earth, not too far away from Zemlino, recovery forces stood by, waiting for the cargo ship to land, so it can be brought back to Space Center for turnaround procedures, much like rocket stages of the "Water Dragon" would be in mere hours.

    Heat shield, parachutes, gas bags - all landing systems were still green and data meteorology stations was showing, that everything was within acceptable parameters for the landing and recovery. But right now, the ship still had to orbit Earth two more times…


    ----


    "So… what do you think of it?" asked the captain of the "Red Explorer" everyone else, who was currently present in the mess hall in the centrifuge. "The more I think of it, the more it hits me, just what kind of a thing we've done - we've killed Rayquaza, a being millions of years old, who has controlled the skies for many eons."

    "And?" asked him the engineer.

    "Well… I mean, it's been around much longer, than humanity. Our actions has removed it out of play and, if data from ISF 9 and Hoenn locals is to be believed, there are two more players in there - Groudon and Kyogre. And with no Rayquaza to keep them in check…"

    "We may have to," said the pilot. "I mean, even excluding the retro-missiles, we can use solid-core railgun ammunition for orbital bombardment!"

    "With crappy precision and power," replied the sensors operator. "Atmosphere won't be gentle to it."

    "Even so…" muttered the captain, then assumed a bit more relaxed position in the chair. "I hope they'll be able to figure something out, back on Earth…"


    ---


    "And here our babies are," muttered technician in the Imperial Gray Sea Starport, seeing recovered stages of the "Water Dragon" being towed towards drydock for repair and later reuse, with a few curious Alolan Flygon in Rainy forms flying/swimming around them, as "buzzers" on the ships were now disabled. "Seems like everything went perfectly."

    "Indeed," replied the engineer nearby. "Just like the previous time."

    "Which one of previous times exactly?" asked him technician. "The original delivery of landers, docking block and Power and Propulsion Module to the Space Lab 1 to make it into the ship for the Imperial Moon Mission? The missions to build Space Lab 2?"

    "All of them, starting with the test flights with recovery system installed."

    "I guess. Kinda shame, that the early missions for delivering satellite constellations had to be only partially reusable, with only engines saved…"

    "Agreed. Well, they've almost got the stages there, so, time to get to work!"


    ---


    As the morning came to the eastern parts of Soris, the Emperor, still stationed in Zemlino Space Center, prepared for something truly special.

    Dressed in a strict suit, more fitting for a spokesperson of the space agency, rather than royalty, he, nonetheless, appeared to be concentrated, confident and serious. Right now, he was about to give the most important speech in his life so far.

    When the time came, he entered the conference room and walked onto the scene, under the gaze of cameras.

    "My dear sorisians, good morning," started the Emperor, sounding far more serious, than ever before. "I want to tell you something… Back before the Shift, when I was a young boy, one of the court's elite engineers and entertainers has constructed the first ever liquid-fueled rocket, which worked on kerosene and hydrogen peroxide. Even then, rockets have already fascinated me, but solids didn't have quite the same impact as this one did. When I first heard the roar of the turbopump, installed on the test stand, when I saw the assembled rocket blast off… I knew, that nothing would be the same for me from this day hence."

    "Because of that, when I've become the Emperor, I chose to, instead of trying to conquer the rest of the world, set our sights a bit higher and start conquering skies and, later, space."

    "And look, where did that get us. Even back then, while the rest of the world had to rely on the Pokemon to attempt to traverse the skies, we did so via comfortable machines, more advanced than anything would be in millennia to come. Even now, our nuclear airships are unmatched."

    "When the rest of the world had to rely on Castform at most and signs normally for predicting weather, we've had meteorological satellites for that. When bulk lifting was unachievable for them, we've used our helicopters and airships for that. When they've had to risk their men and Pokemon to get high-altitude observations, we've had satellites for that."

    "A lot of our technological achievements can be traversed back to the space program and the applications program for it. Even the TVs you are watching my speech with have a lot of components, derived from the space program."

    "For many years, we were exploring space. I remember, how happy I was, when we've managed to put the first satellite into orbit. I remember my ecstasy, when I've managed to quietly replace pilot of the SP-04 "Black Bird" with myself for the first mission and has become the first human in space."

    "For years and years, we were putting more and more satellites into orbits. We've also put men there - first in small spaceships, then in the Proof-Of-Concept Stations, then in the Space Labs… And when Rayquaza, without any warning, has destroyed our satellites, along with Space Lab 2 and LRV-03 with 12 cosmonauts onboard… We've turned our shock and grief into first resentment, then hatred and then - innovation."

    "Nowadays, there's a huge nuclear pulse battleship, which, currently, is stationed in orbit of the Moon, serving as a deterrent to any aggressor, who may think of attacking the Empire. In addition to that, as researches in the Space Lab 2 and ISF 5 have shown, some normally-terminal diseases can be treated in the microgravity."

    "As you've seen, aerospace industry was a great part of why our Empire was so successful. Because of that, I want to announce the Integrated Program Plan - our ticket into future. By the end of this year, we will clean the orbits a bit, partially restore the satellite constellations and, once again, have an operational space station, bigger and more advanced, than Space Lab 2. By the end of the next year, the first dedicated orbital hospital will be opened. By the end of third year, the first industrial-grade orbital factories will go operational. By the end of fourth year, the satellite constellations will be completely restored and we will have the Moonbase. By the end of fifth year, we will perform an expedition to the Red Planet. By the end of sixth year, more orbital factories and hospitals will be brought into operation. By the end of first decade of IPP, the assembly of the space colony in the libration point L5 will begin. By the end of the second decade, the colony will be brought into operation. Of course, there might be slips… but all of it will be achieved."

    "The Earth is a cradle of mankind… but one cannot eternally stay in the cradle. We should remember, what have we already achieved, and go on towards the future. The achievements of yesterday are commendable, but it's the achievements of today, which are truly impactful. Stay strong, my fellow imperials, and together, we will conquer the space!"


    ----


    William Steelman, the president of Unova, didn't feel well.

    In fact, the entirety of the last year, especially the months after the so-called "Shift", was a major clusterbomb of problems.

    Especially when those damn Sorisians launched their damned space warship and demonstrated how they can use it against planetary targets.

    Especially when they've demonstrated the feasibility of nuclear weapons - something, that he had supported defunding back during the war with Hoenn and Kanto, before his presidency.

    Especially when he has also supported defunding the space program, considering it a waste of tax money, which could've been spent on more PokeCenters, hospitals, shelters and so on.

    And now, after this damned speech of this damned Emperor of this damned Soris Empire, he had no idea, what to do.

    And Sorisians announcing and giving a TV report about recovering all parts of their gigantic "Water Dragon" rocket, including the heavy cargo spacecraft, for a bit of repair and reuse soon after, was making things even worse, given the current-day situation with launch vehicles in Unova.

    And, what was the truly worst about it all, is that a decent part of the reason for Unova ending up so behind Soris Empire was his own fault.

    Even when he was defunding UASA and allowed them to lease the Space Shuttles to the rest of the world (mostly Hoenn), he only did it to free up tax money and spend it on social programs, to help everyday Unovans… and then it turned out to be a doom to Unova in the long term, unless some miracle saves them.

    And even nuclear industry of Unova wasn't in the really good condition, when compared to the Soris Empire… though, at least, he has helped to progress the molten salt reactors, which worked on relatively cheap and abundant thorium…

    But what's use in all this, if Soris Empire continues the conquest of space and, surely, builds more space battleships and weapon platforms, until they can keep the entire world compliant to their terms, lest the orbital bombardment with nuclear weapons commence?!

    William opened a drawer of his table. In it, alongside some old-type Pokeballs, which he kept from his League days, original ebonite knobs included, there was a familial heritage - a revolver, made by his gunsmith grandfather, along with a speedloader from the same maker and a small box of ammo. While the firearms were never too widespread in Unova, as Pokemon were almost always just as good and far more versatile, they've still had their niches and customers.

    Steelman took the revolver in his hands, looked at it, reflecting on the engraved writing and overall beauty of the weapon, then placed it on the table. He grabbed the speedloader and started putting cartridges into it, while thinking of what he has done in his life.

    After he was done, he used the speedloader to reload the revolver in one swift motion, just like during his time with father on the shooting range.

    William took the revolver in his hands, opened his mouth and inserted the gun's barrel into it, until it was touching the palate. He cocked the hammer, closed his eyes… and put the gun back on the table.

    He was the reason Unova was inadequately prepared to deal with the Soris Empire now. "Easy way out" was nothing but a cowardice of the highest level. He will be the one, who atones and fixes those mistakes or, at least, does his best to.

    As Steelman was unloading the revolver and putting everything back in place, his mind was racing, combing the memory for the project UASA has previously shown to him, what they've promised and how much money will they need to be done.

    He had work to do. A lot of it.

    And, maybe - just maybe, - he'll succeed in this endeavour.

    Even if it will require cooperating with all other member states of the Pokemon Nation.


    ---


    Around Zemlino Space Center, as always, there was a lot of work. Just as the recovered "Hauler", moved on the crawler, was rolled into one hangar, from another, a vessel emerged.

    It was a spaceplane - a sleek, delta-winged one, with boxy engines underneath the fuselage bringing those of "Dreamwing" to mind… and some of them were pretty similar, also being hydrogen-fueled scramjets. Others, however, were not, for they were not scramjets, but nuclear turboramjets.

    Inside the cockpit, two test pilots were checking everything. As this spaceplane was powered by the nuclear reactor, they've had to be very careful. Even though reactor was built to withstand low supersonic impacts, wrecking such an advanced vessel was… undesirable.

    "Zemlino, this is Bluebird-1, all systems green, running on batteries. Towing truck at safe distance, requesting permission to start the reactor," said the commander, hovering his hand over one of the covered buttons.

    "Bluebird-1, this is Zemlino, permission to start the reactor granted. Take off when ready."

    After receiving those words, commander flicked the cover open and pressed the "START 1" button.

    Far behind two humans, several control rods were retracted, allowing the chain fission reaction to start and get into high gear soon, heating up the hydrogen coolant, while the turbine pumps were revving up to ensure normal circulation of coolant through the entire system, including the heat exchanger on the outside.

    As the temperature continued to rise, electric motors inside the turboramjet assembly kicked in, revving up the turbines to get the air going through the heat exchanger and start up the turboramjets proper.

    "So far, so good," muttered the second pilot, observing the data on the MFD. Right now, the thrust has reached sufficient level to allow pilots to begin taxi to the runway, preparing for the takeoff.

    As much as they've wanted the Bluebird-1 to go to space today, alas, it was not an option - their test program was limited to some supersonic and hypersonic flight to test the engine assembly, then a bit of maneuvering to test the structure.

    As the vessel took off from the runway and the landing gear retracted, commander looked to the side and saw a "Whitebird" spaceplane, a recently-built unmanned cousin of the "Dreamwing", getting launched to deploy a satellite of sort and later retrieve it. There were rumors, that this satellite was supposed to house some kind of weaponry… but, most likely, they were just rumors.



    Author's notes:

    MFD - Multi-Function Display.

    BLUEBIRD spaceplane is based on the real M(G)-19 "Gurkolyot".

    Alolan Flygons are based on that wonderful picture.

    Hopefully, this chapters will be one of the last, so focused on the worldbuilding. Anyway, by the chapter ten, I will do my best to make story enter the more Pokemon route.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2019

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