December 31st, 1955, Baikonur Kosmodrone.
As the new year approached, many among the senior staff of the space centre had gathered in the lounge. Many had never had time for a family, besides the people present were the friends, and really their family in a manner of speaking.
They were all celebrating the new year in a quiet manner, even Jeb, Bill and Bob had not even talked about rockets. Everything in the space program were on schedule. The KOOL network were coming along nicely, they were well ahead of the Illyriens on the manned program (except the lunar fly-by that is, which we could have done), plans for the first half of the coming year were already drawn up, and rockets were in production.
The only hitch really were that the bank account was very low, but Mortimer Kerman had assured Gene that with the rockets under way, they should experience a level of accidents that had not even happened to the Illyriens to not get a return from their existing contracts – and with the ongoing upgrade of the Mission Control, they could soon take even more contracts – not that the production facilities could likely keep up with that.
They had all just eaten, and were now sitting with a cold mug, waiting for the glorious leaders new years speech. Werner and Gene even managed to miss the beginning of the speech, but their attention were drawn by how quiet everyone else were.
“I, John F. Kerman say that we set sail on this new sea because there is new knowledge to be gained, and new rights to be won, and they must be won and used for the progress of all kerbals. For space science, like nuclear science and all technology, has no conscience of its own. Whether it will become a force for good or ill(yriens) depends on Kerbinians, and only if the glorious Kerbinia occupies a position of pre-eminence can we help decide whether this new ocean will be a sea of peace or a new terrifying theater of war. I do not say that we should or will go unprotected against the hostile misuse of space any more than we go unprotected against the hostile use of land or sea, but I do say that space can be explored and mastered without feeding the fires of war, without repeating the mistakes that kerbals has made in extending his writ around this globe of ours.
There is no strife, no prejudice, no national conflict in outer space as yet. Its hazards are hostile to us all. Its conquest deserves the best of all kerbalkind, and its opportunity for peaceful cooperation may never come again. But why, some say, the Moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask, why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic?
We choose to go to the Moon! … We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win …”
As the speech ended, and the regular news commentators started talking about what it meant, everyone present reacted in their own quiet way.
Jebediah commented that it sounded fun, with Bill and Bob looking nervously at each other.
Werner started arguing about how impossible it was, and that they were nowhere near the point when they had the technology to actually do this.
Valentina looked at her brother Gene with a worried look.
Gene just stood there, with a blank look on his face, thinking: “I’ve finally got this program on track, and they do this?”…..
Not the traditional “what happened and what are the plans”. But I decided that this would be the decade, and now I’m locked in since I took the contracts for it as soon as they came up later…