In one way of looking at things, KSP Command was in good shape. The crisis of leaving two large station components without fuel, orbiting the moon of a far away world was more or less averted by the skillful and imaginative piloting of the mysterious JebClone. Another way of looking at the situation was still pretty bleak: now three enormous constructions were in vastly divergent orbits around Laythe (three different planes, at a huge range of distances), and while the Gas Can Convoy had managed to bring plenty (ok, a bit) of fuel to the emerging colony, the vessel was so large it would be wasteful to move the whole thing around topping off tanks.
Command decided to speed up construction of the next major project. The designers had come up with a pie-in-the-sky idea to move several smaller craft out to Laythe. The idea was for two landers and two multi-purpose shuttles to make the trip hanging off a single large framework inspired by the Gas Can mega-ship. This was quickly downgraded to two shuttles and a single lander – if it’s meant to be reusable, we only need one, right? What’s the worst that could happen?
Nearly a dozen launches were required to assemble the Laythe Carrier and attach it’s cargo. Everyone agreed, it looked darned cool.
Teensy problem: in the first test of the attached thrust stage, the too-large structure began an oscillation that quickly threatened to rip the vessel to pieces. The uninspired command crew for the Carrier, Hans Kerman, Newrey Kerman, and Thompbles Kerman (no relation), managed to get off to a surprisingly good start in their careers by having the presence of mind to turn the engines off before they were all killed.
In a process that went against convention, the two pilots picked to fly the shuttles, Raylo Kerman and Tomtrey Kerman (no relation), were actually selected for their competence and general skill level. As the Laythe Carrier wobbled violently back and forth, Raylo and Tomtrey got the heck out of Dodge.
While Command figured out what to do with the Carrier to salvage the effort expended in building the stupid thing, thrust stages were launched, and attached to the shuttles.
Tomtrey left for Laythe, first. Using JebClone’s aerobrake maneuver, the shuttle slid into high orbit above Laythe, and began a series of transfers, moving fuel from the Gas Can to the Hab and Utility modules, and acting as a general tug to move Bill, JebClone, and Adwig into the station, connecting the two modules, and reuniting the original three KSP amigos (sort of) for the first time in years.
The Laythe Colony was coming along nicely. Even though he wasn’t strictly needed right away, Raylo was ready to fly, and he had a valid flight window to move the second shuttle to Jool’s moons. KSP Command had come to embrace the system of maneuvers pioneered by JebClone, and at this point, the whole process was approaching routine. Terrifying, but routine.
And so as Command worked on figuring out what to do with the non-functioning Carrier vessel, how to move their lander to Laythe, and whether there was merit to putting effort into choosing pilots (or if they should go back to grabbing the next three idiots in line), the Laythe team had grown to include Bill, Bob, JebClone, Adwig, and Tomtrey – with Raylo nearby in Shuttle 2, ready to leap into action the moment he was needed.
With Hans, Newrey, and Thompbles hanging out in orbit over Kerbin, waiting to be told what to do, the ‘three idiots’ technique was looking good.