That taken care of, I went to go looking for more contracts. There's one for a flyby of the Mun, but I don't want to do that yet. My plans require more money. There are, however, a good variety of quick and easy contracts. I settle on two that will be just perfect for training a new backup pilot.
Luckily the adds for more crew members was still out and I had a stack of applicants to choose from. Quickly leafing through the papers, one caught my eye. A captain was applying to my program! Not even aware we had captains, I quickly brought him in for an interview. Sadly, he informed me that "Captain" was a title he gave himself due to the many hours of flight simulation games he had played. Ah well, his experience should save me the 30 minutes of flight training we'd normally give so we could more quickly make some money. Capt. Kiwi Kerman seemed a welcome addition to the team.
The launch and mission go smoothly. Capt. Kiwi hits the big red button, and is quickly lifted to the appropriate height and speeds, earning us the contract money. He releases the parachutes, and seems to enjoy the lengthy trip down.
My naming of the new vessel (The Short-range Missile) causes my legal adviser to just shake his head. I take it as a victory. Capt. Kiwi looks alarmed, but I assure him that it's not actually a missile, but turns out he's worried about the lack of parachutes. I reassure him that his first mission was abnormal, we've done plenty with this single parachute, and only one has ended up in a fiery death. I don't think he was very reassured, but he got in anyway.
A quick launch later, and things were going well. Capt. Kiwi was on the right course to achieve both contract goals.
The trajectory was close to having the same problems that killed Jebediah so long ago. Too shallow, and he doesn't spend long enough in the atmosphere to lose enough speed so that he can safely deploy the parachutes. No number of parachutes would save him then, they'd all snap as soon as they were released if he couldn't kill enough speed. He'd need to be going under ~254m/s if he wanted to safely splash down.
Unfortunately for Capt. Kiwi, it looked like he was going just a bit too fast.
He pushed the button, releasing the parachute.
We waited with bated breath to see what happened. Would he slow down, or would he follow Jeb to a watery grave?
There was still money to be made, but with Capt. Kiwi a tad shaken with his near brush with death, I'd need to find someone else in the short term to fill in.