High atop of might airship we scout for the best ways to expoit those wonderous devices:  The Lightening Crystals.  In the Hard Wired Hinterland you can use them to steal up to 90% of an object's weight.  From there it is a short leap to squirrel suits and Buck Rodgers jetpacks.

We are joined by Richard and Melody Tucholka who reveal upcoming projects and inside secrets to Tri Tac Games.

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  • Stan Bundy

    A few notes:

    1. Since it’s a “Field” effect, wouldn’t the bullets fired at a LC-using device would have THEIR mass reduced as well, before impact, as they entered the field? This would have an effect of making things fired into a field be much less lethal. However, fired within a field (firer and target are both in the same field, or ones that overlap, if that’s possible), the comparative mass to propellant (the energy imparted to that item) would still make that much lighter bullet just as lethal. Similarly, items fired out of a field would regain their mass as they left, and the question is do they retain the same inertia?

    This is one reasons why even without the factor of pirates wanting crystals as plunder, boarding actions would still be a preferred means to attack craft in flight.

    2. Jet Packs in “Buck Rogers” - in the original stories (look up “Armageddon 2419″ by Nowlan - Tony Rogers didn’t become “Buck” until the comics) they didn’t use jet packs, but simple anti-gravity/anti-inertial jump belts, that could be dialed to near-weightlessness. If Jet packs were used, it was near the end (and their heavy weapons were rocket pistols, designed to have very little inertia directed into the firer, as the rockets didn’t ignite until after being propelled from the guns. Most people maneuvered in jumps by shifting their center of gravity/lift, throwing stuff in flight, or air guns like what some astronauts used in EVA. Jet packs, in that setting, were death traps, as they gave an energy signature that allowed the Han to target them with Dis rays (according to the Niven/Pournelle edit, and sequels they plotted for others to write (4 in all, ca. 1979-1982), the Dis rays were unfocused transporter beams). Both sides used Tesla’s transmitted power concepts, and repulsor beams for propulsion (eventually, the humans developed small fighters shielded against Dis that used Dis beams like a ramjet, and UAVs loaded with some weapons, sensors, and explosive charges for terminal attacks).

    3. The anime “Orguss” (Superdimension Century Orguss) not only deals with a patchwork world (and salvage being a major part of it, along with flying trading posts, etc.) it also has some interesting means of attack, utilizing the Emaan inertial damage tech. a. Grabbing a tree with what should be a multi-ton mech, swinging around without doing more than stripping off some branches, and firing or melee attacking the pursuer. b. Flying straight into a cliff with a humanoid mech, flipping to land on a vertical surface feet first, then using the (designed for normal mass) legs to shove off along with the thrusters. c. Going for full haymaker or kick while reduced mass, then turning off the inertial suppressors for the impact (thereby increasing the kinetic energy of the attack at least 10-fold).

    OF course, these same inertial devices also allowed an old geezer and a teen to STEAL one of the mechs, simply by releasing it from its mooring stalk in the flying trading post, then PULLING IT WITH HEMP ROPES (no landing gear, sled, or skis) in its aircraft mode THROUGH a forest. (one scene played for humor was where they pulled it over a fallen tree that was at least a meter across - it might have been light, but it was still bulky and had an odd center of gravity for being transported that way). The Emaan also had energy/inertia crystals that they kept proprietary (in terms of manufacture & repair), but would sell to anyone except their enemies.

    4. The secret word for posting this was “aglet” - why do I suddenly have the urge to go watch Phineas & Ferb??? (OMG - imagining what those two could do in a HH setting….)

    PS - it’s not wanting to take the text - tried twice, including replacing the l with a 1.

    Mar 19, 2012 at 10:54 pm