That said, this novel will be saved by (if you can believe that after Space MArine) the intorducion of the Fists under LExandro again. But a less.. creepy Lex. At least somewhat less creepy (or maybe its just less creepy when placed up in comparison to Jaq.)
\Olafson’s last sight could hardly be claimed to be the discharge of this pistol [a plasma pistol] that sight was far too blinding and all-consuming. Already the sun-hot plasma had vaporised Olafson’s eyes, his face, his whole head.
A headless corpse lay supine, shoulders steaming. The killer had laid down the exhausted gun to re-energize itself and, where a head had been, he placed the floppy false face of Erikson.
Lower limit (by NecronLord) was alreay done in the Grand 40K quantification thread - long and short 10-15 MJ at least for vaporising a head with a plasma shot. Probably slightly more since there's no neck too, and the shoulders (and possibly upper chest) are steaming (boiling/cauterized) Vaporising the neck might add another couple MJ (2-3) at least, and the upper shoulders/torso area would be around 5-7 kg of mass to affect. To boil would be an extra 1.3-1.8 (call it 1-2) MJ. Cauterization (say 300-400C) 4.5-7 MJ.
Overall, call it between 15-25 MJ at least. That's alot lower than some of the latter calcs for plasma weapons but there are some things to consider.
1.) Plasma weapons as a rule tend to be variable output like most 40K weapons. At least two settings.
2.) They tend to vary alot in design. Some incorporate safety measures to reduce the risk of overheating. Lower outputs are one of these factors, since less energy means its easier to cool (and less dangerous.) There can be many reasons for design tradeoffs, and not all plasma pistols neccesarily have to be of the "vaporizes/cremates a person in a single shot" variety.
'Molecularly bonded ice' - exotic materials science or perhaps forcecfield techs. Inquisiton headquarters (or one, at least at this time) was 1 km below the surface already 3 km covered with ice. Interesting from the viewpoint of planetary bombardment.The Ice-sheet of Antarcitca was over three kilometres thick. Carved in bedrock a further kilometre below that frigid shield was the most ancient of all the headquarters of the Inquisition.
Admittedly, scattered across the ice-sheet there rose many great baroque edifices of molecularly bonded ice.
Hidden deep below the blank expanses in between were uncountable cubic kilometres of arrtificial caverns and vast tunnels and grottoes and antrums housing sombre labyrinthine complexes and whole cities of servitors and scribes. Of protectors and warders and functionaries.
Also interesting to see Terra still has at least some form of water still, although I wouldn't want to be the one to drink it.
not sure what "permaparchment" is. The Servitor is interesting.. The "brass bound" bit is worth noting too...permaparchment pages of great brass-bound tomes. Plasteel shelves towered in obscurity.
Yet a faint hunch had directed his steps to the depository, which only a few glow-globes lit dimly, and which was deserted but for a solitary simian servitor. The creature shuffled about, its knuckles dangling upon the floor of polished rock.
Note the "pulses" firing. We're not sure what kind of weapon it is, but the pulses of an unknown number and duration melt an undefined amount of brass and ignite teh books. You can't really calc it, but it probably owuld take hundreds of kilojoules at least to melt brass (this site which I've linked to before gives numbers - 205 kj/kg for heat of fusion and 385 J/kg for specific heat of copper, which melts at around 1350K- 500-600 kj per kg melted - I'm sure around a kilogram to within an OOM could be melted here)As he opened his mouth to summon the servitor, laser pusles flashed from the high gallery cloaked in deepest shadow. Air and dust ionized to a brilliant green. The pulses hit books, melting brass, setting permaparchment ablaze. Firenze had already thrown himself sidelong and was rolling, clutching his own laspistol, pointing it upward.
An ambush? HEre in the headquarters?"
He fired at the gallery and molten iron sprayed.
He was already rolling again. From further along the gallery more pulses streaked, glancing off the stone floor, setting more tomes on fire.
More reliably... Firenze is using a laspistol and fires at the Gallery with enough to "melt" iron. Assuming a 2 cm by 2cm by 2cm "cube" of iron (roughly the width of a lasgun beam by most sources treating them as affecting a roughly "finger width" area.).. 63 grams of iron would be melted. At least 75.6 kilojoules would be required in a 300 K atmosphere to melt it, not including "spraying". Probably not more than a few shots, and likely to be only a single one.
This also ignores the fact that at least some vaporization would occur for the "spraying" to occur. (Vaporizing the same volume would require around 473 kilojoules, ignoring the possibility of raising iron to boiling point in an atmosphere, which could raise the figure even higher - the melting point of iron is ~1800 K. Boiling point is some 3100K which would add some ~30 kilojoules more to the calc. at least.) The area affected would be much bigger, since the molten iron would surround the impact point to some unspecified distance raising the calc even more.
Of course, I've been told I am accused of "over-stating" calcs for lasweapons by people who think they have done more research on the topic ("*snicker*) If we assume a "half centimeter" diameter beam (which has been stated in the novel "Only in Death") for a lasweapon.. the actual mass affected would be about a gram or so of metal. 1.2 kj to melt, and 7-8 kj at least for the vaporization calcs I estimated above. And it would still be conservative as hell.
Of course, if we wnat to push it to even MORE conservative... we go back to trusty atomic rockets and this little passage:
With the rough dimensions above (assume maybe a bit thicker for the iron) we might get 1-2 kilojoules, although that still won't account for the melting (it would be purely mechanical damage.) This, obviously, is melting.I'm assuming a weapon designed to penetrate ~30cm in soft body tissue. This gives about 15cm in bone or plastic, 5cm in brick or concrete, or 2.5cm in steel or most ceramics.
And no matter how you calc it, the volume affected is still a lower limit (since it only affects the approximate area of the beam.)
- Krak grenades are described as having their explosive effects "concentrated, not dispersed." Note that I'm not totally convinced Krak grenades are shaped charges always, although they have been described as such.Grenades, hidden bomblets: a whole line of these must have been triggered remotely all at once! No blastwave had swept Firenze off his feet. Consequently the tiny bombs must have been krak - their explosive effect concentrated, not dispersed.
Presumably this refrs to being "chopped apart" by the lasfire, again confirming the essentially sustained nature. Going by atomic rockets standard, and ignoring melting/vaporization (which would likely be low MJ/high KJ range - see the same event happening in First and Only.) it would take a few kilojoules per "slice" to to slice someone apart like that.The ambusher would by now be roasted, if he hadn't already been hurled to his death or chopped apart.
1.) Stalinvast is "lost" to the Imperium, indicating they have no real means of re-inhabiting it. Which is odd. While the existence of terraforming is rather inconsistently applied in the literature, by and large it doesnt' seem all that commonplace, yet they can make even uninhabitable worlds into livable by some measure (CF Tallarn, Krieg, or Valhalla - hell Hives are built on that.)As a result of the needless exterminatus, Stalinvast had been rendered lifeless and lost to the Imperium.
Since Firenze was somehow implicated in this disaster, he had volunteered - aye, volunteered - for questioning under deep truth. The onion rings of Firenze's mind had been peeled one by one, and examined and wrung dry, until he was as a newborn baby..
The Inquisition had re-educated Firenze honourably for fifteen years. By then he was in his seventies. To amortize their investment, he was rejuventated, in the process losing some of the memories of his second childhood.
2.) The Inquisition can perform interrogations on people to learn facts by eseentially stirpping their minds away like the Emperor did to Jaq in the first novel - one presumes by similar methods. However, unlike the Emperor, they lack the ability ot put back what they takeout.
3.) Rejuvenation involved losing "some" of his memories, suggesting that rejuvenation (or at least some of the techniques) can carry unfortunate side effects.
- mention of the "Eternity" project - the search for immortal mutants who might represent a heretical potential "rival" to the GEoM." IE the Sensei.
more descriptions of the Stalinvast exterminatus. Atmosphere is implied to be gone, although this may mean its so polluted/dangerous that it is essentially "gone" too. It has been totally sterilized, eventhe simplest forms of life (which would, incidentally, involve some depth of penetration of the surface. So this has implications for the Tyranids, who are known to survive some kinds of Exterminatus.)In the wake of exterminatus, not even a breathable atmosphere remained on Stalinvast, let alone any jot of life, however humble.
Proximity to an exterminated worldwould endow some dire alien ritual with a gruseome intensity.
Global destruction - of a once human world - was surely what was attracting the aliens to Stalinvast..
Mass Extinction events are perceived (at least by the Inquisition) to be able to "boost" sorcerous rituals. Not a real big shocker since Magic is essentially real in 40K and souls can be seen as a source of power (by Daemons, etc.) so massive amounts of death probably do provide some tappable source of energy.
- according to the Inquisitors, the Eldar supposedly (at least at this time) could not steer directly through the warp, but rather used the webway for FTL, because they lacked Navigators and an equivalent to the Astronomicon. Which is true, but that doesn't mean that its the only way to navigate.
- Guardsman using "long barreled lasguns."
It seems that upon meeting the Emperor Jaq has become (yet again) disillusioned with things and goes off seeking answers. This is, out of universe, an excuse to introduce more aspects of 40K prevalent among this tiemframe (the Illuminati, Eldar, etc.) but from the standpoint of plot it means we have to endure more Jaq Draco emoing. At least its not as bad as it will get later on.During those awesome moments of communicattion in the throne room, after Jaq had been soul-stripped, then restored again, he believed that the Emperor had manifested a multi-mind at odds with its own self. The Emperor's exalted consciousness had seemed as capracious and as sundry as the galaxy itself where no truth was to be trusted.
Also we have yet another indicaton of the "hive-mind" like entity of the emperor, which hints at the early origins of the "reincarnation of thousands of shamans" in the very early fluff.
- mention of Mars-manufactured shuriken pistols, copy of Eldar weaponry. And evidently used by relatively "common" folk (freighter crews) this being not unusual (or terribly so, at least.)Only two crew members were aboard, and both of these were dead - recently killed by shuriken pistols. The pistols were clenched in their hands. The whirling razor-discs had sliced each man's face to bloody ribbons, carving through the nasal and lachrymal bones, making porridge of the brains.
Would such men ordinarily have been armed with shuriken pistols to protect them in portside bars and brothels during shore leave? The weapons seemed to be of Martian manufacture, a copy of alien eldar weaponry produced in one of the factory hbives of the Adeptus Mechanicus.
Also of note is that the AdMech will apparently copy "xenos" tech of some kinds.
Also note the effects of the pistols, which is quite messy and its likely Eldar versions would be worse. And the mention of brothels (Yes, people in the Imperium have sex. They're not all religious fanatics! )
- Mention of an "inner, central, and outer" challenge line in the TErra system. At least 3 layers of defense.
Jaq hid his ship out in the cometary halo.. light days out. Its implied here also that the "jump out" point for the TErran system is similiarly out that far. I'm guessing they aren't referring to the Oort cloud (which is IIRC around a LY out) but probably the Kuiper belt, which is around 50-100+ AU out (which could be days away)Finally, space was empty of traffic other than the billionfold burble of radio messages hours and days out of date.
The freighter had passed beyond that zone on the fringe of the planetary system where interstellar vessels jumped into warp space. Sub-stellar ships rarely had reason to venture further outward into the ordinary emptiness.
interminably later, the freighter reached the comet halo.
"Mountain" repeated so many times does suggest a multi-km comet diameter... or mountain massed. this page says from 1 to 50 km varying and this one says a few km, so that probably fits in well (most being less than 10 km long, so we can likely assume 2-10 km probably as the likely range)The comet halo seemed empty too. A million jagged mountains of ice or rock circled the frigid void on their millenia long orbits.
Only if one mountain wandered near another and was perturbed and headed inward towards the home planets, would it finally form a visible tail of volatileizing vapour streaming in the solar wind. Then and only then would ti become a comet as such: a dragon-mountain with kinetic energy a thousand times greater than any barrage bomb or thermonuke.
Density is given above as .1g/cm^3 to 1g/Cm^3 while the wiki entry for Halley's comet indicates an average of .6g/cm^3
Assuming a density of around .5 gm/cm^3 and a diameter of 1 km, the mass is 5.3e14 kg. 2 km, the thing ought to mass 2e15 kg if assumed spherical. According to the impact calculator here suggest highe than 50 km/s as comet velocity. Kinetic energy for the 1 km comet would be 6.2e23 J, while at 2 km it would be 2.5e24 joules.. between 150-600 teratons roughly. Broadly speaking (within an order of magtnidue) you could assume a KE SOMEWHERE in the teraton range.
This in turn means the thermonukes would be somehwere well into the gigaton range. Plasma torps would be orders of magnitude more powerful (~100x if we go by matter/energy conversion, 1000x if we go by space fleet) making them roughly comparable (within an OOM) to the cometary impact themselves.
Jaq's ship has stealth capabilities of diverse means.Even so, Tormentum Malorum was shielded by camouflage force-fields and hexes and by an aura of protecton cast by Jaq.
Evidently Jaq's ship has no non-navigator means fo navigating (IE not being able to travel a few Light years). Rather poor planning, Jaq.Without a Navigator who could see into the warp, Jaq's ship could never jump away from this nowhere.