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Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Posted: 2018-11-04 03:51pm
by Eternal_Freedom
Oh absolutely, the R&D teams will be working on it in the background - kinda like how I mentioned they were tinkering with the Attero Device back in Act One and how that led to the hyperspace jammer. Don't expect them to build loads though - I'm thinking the NOVA weapons need either some fairly exotic/weird materials and/or don't have a very long shelf life - which IIRC is actually a serious problem for real-life nukes, especially two-stage weapons that use a lot of Tritium since that has a half-life of just over 12 years and it decays into the annoyingly stable Helium-3, which is the worst thing to have a fusion reaction short of, I dunno, a stray Moose or something.

To elaborate on that - since the book-version of the NOVA bomb takes nine high-yield weapons (probably no more than a hundred megatons each given other UNSC nukes) and uses a dense fusion fuel to raise the yield a hundredfold...hmm, the one time in canon the damn thing actually exploded it was halfway between an Earth-like planet and it's moon. The moon was shattered, the planet irradiated, cities on the surface were flattened, tidal waves emerged and three hundred plus ships in orbit were vaporised - that's a lot more than what you'd expect from the hundred-gigaton range I'd expect.

So I'm gonna say that the "dense fusion fuel" is a really dense, exotic material like metallic Tritium or something. Hence, difficult to manufacture and keep on hand.

Now, combine a NOVA bomb with a shielded delivery package and a jump drive and...well, basically we've built a Galaxy Gun. Yay for superweapons? Nial Declanee would probably approve.

Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Posted: 2018-11-04 06:29pm
by U.P. Cinnabar
Eternal_Freedom wrote:.hmm, the one time in canon the damn thing actually exploded it was halfway between an Earth-like planet and it's moon. The moon was shattered, the planet irradiated, cities on the surface were flattened, tidal waves emerged and three hundred plus ships in orbit were vaporised - that's a lot more than what you'd expect from the hundred-gigaton range I'd expect.
Without consulting Atomic Rockets' Boom Table, I'd say the yield has to art least be in the high exatons. That's a lot of boom for your buck.

The weapons Sky Captain's proposing could be based aboard supercarriers/battlestars and launched against, say, High Charity, while its defense fleet is otherwise engaged.

Pity the Alliance doesn't have a copy of Watintree's conference call to transmit to the Hierarchs...or plant on a dead UNSC officer for someone loyal to the Hierarchs to find.

Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Posted: 2018-11-05 12:36pm
by fnord
At least (from Jellicoe et al's POV), it wasn't a metric weapon - no false vacuum collapse, deep fried cheesy *FNORD*, or... waffles.

Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Posted: 2018-11-05 12:57pm
by Eternal_Freedom
Yeah the Kobolians and Tau'ri are rather wary about metric/vacuum weapons, with good reason. When your actual Gods appear and say "hey there, don't build these ever again" that's a pretty strong motivator to avoid them.

Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Posted: 2018-11-05 03:12pm
by U.P. Cinnabar
fnord wrote:
2018-11-05 12:36pm
At least (from Jellicoe et al's POV), it wasn't a metric weapon - no false vacuum collapse, deep fried cheesy *FNORD*, or... waffles.
Waffles with fried chicken, no less.

Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Posted: 2018-11-05 04:08pm
by Sky Captain
Eternal_Freedom wrote:
2018-11-04 03:51pm
So I'm gonna say that the "dense fusion fuel" is a really dense, exotic material like metallic Tritium or something. Hence, difficult to manufacture and keep on hand.
That's good point, there has to be something seriously limiting the production capability otherwise given their effectiveness there would be more NOVA bombs built and used.
U.P. Cinnabar wrote:
2018-11-04 06:29pm
Without consulting Atomic Rockets' Boom Table, I'd say the yield has to art least be in the high exatons. That's a lot of boom for your buck.
It would suggest that there are some exotic physics stuff going on raising the yield far above what would be normally expected from fusion or even antimatter bomb that size and mass. We don't know the exact size and mass, but it easily fitted inside Covenant battlecruiser's hangar bay so something 20 - 30 metres across and few thousand tons mass would be a good guesstimate.

Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Posted: 2018-11-05 04:31pm
by Eternal_Freedom
Well in canon it was a prototype, they'd only built one when Reach fell, and the team building it were all killed within a few days so I suppose the plans were lost - and by the 2nd/3rd games the Covvies were on Earth anyway so it was pointless.

Incidentally, I was crunching some numbers just now (which is always fun) - looking at just how powerful the ODP's are. With one shot being a 3,000 tonne slug at 4% light speed gives an impact energy of fifty gigatons - or 833,333 ship-board MAC rounds. Damn.

Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Posted: 2018-11-05 04:48pm
by U.P. Cinnabar
Sky Captain wrote:It would suggest that there are some exotic physics stuff going on raising the yield far above what would be normally expected from fusion or even antimatter bomb that size and mass. We don't know the exact size and mass, but it easily fitted inside Covenant battlecruiser's hangar bay so something 20 - 30 metres across and few thousand tons mass would be a good guesstimate.
Assuming it didn't take up the entire hangar bay. Still, antimatter-catalyzed fusion gives a greater warhead yield for a smaller warhead size, so you can shoehorn several big bombs into a few thousand tons mass.

Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Posted: 2018-11-05 04:50pm
by Sky Captain
Yeah, that is impressive. Especially considering that energy has to be stored in capacitors before firing. Those capacitors should have energy density close to nuclear fuels to achieve that storage in reasonably sized package. Same applies to high yield energy weapons on Covenant and Alliance ships too. Shouldn't be too hard to make powerful improvised bombs out of them too.

Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Posted: 2018-11-05 04:56pm
by U.P. Cinnabar
Capacitors, or enriched hafnium isomer batteries.

Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Posted: 2018-11-05 05:01pm
by Sky Captain
U.P. Cinnabar wrote:
2018-11-05 04:48pm
Sky Captain wrote:It would suggest that there are some exotic physics stuff going on raising the yield far above what would be normally expected from fusion or even antimatter bomb that size and mass. We don't know the exact size and mass, but it easily fitted inside Covenant battlecruiser's hangar bay so something 20 - 30 metres across and few thousand tons mass would be a good guesstimate.
Assuming it didn't take up the entire hangar bay. Still, antimatter-catalyzed fusion gives a greater warhead yield for a smaller warhead size, so you can shoehorn several big bombs into a few thousand tons mass.
We don't know the dimensions of hangar bay, but since it is a battlecruiser not a carrier hangar bay shouldn't be very large, suitable for some shuttles. I may try to calculate tomorrow rough mass of NOVA bomb for fusion version and potential antimatter version too. I'm guessing millions or even billions of tons of fusion fuel would be needed to achieve described effects.

Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Posted: 2018-11-05 05:07pm
by Eternal_Freedom
Well in canon the ODP's needed massive groundside fusion reactor plants - those are now replaced with neutrino-ion generators and the ground generators are repurposed for the Fortress-shield - which should give you some idea of how powerful the Fortress-shield is if they need the reactors for twenty ODP's to power it.

Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Posted: 2018-11-05 05:18pm
by DKeith2011
Has the Trinity site been found in Pegasus?

Might be possible for the Alliance to throw enough brain power at it to fix it as a power source and/or weaponize it. Would make one heck of a boom for the proposed superweapons department.

Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Posted: 2018-11-05 06:08pm
by Eternal_Freedom
I would reckon they've found it and McKay's already accidentally blown it up. But they had enough data to build a limited version by Season 3 of Atlantis, so maybe the R&D guys are working on that too. Needless to say they may nto get very far, the side-effects were...unpleasant.

Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Posted: 2018-11-06 03:14am
by B5B7
If they can ascertain the location of the home worlds of the Covenant, with this super-bomb they can threaten its use. Don't actually have to use it if the planet surrenders.

Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Posted: 2018-11-06 03:40pm
by Eternal_Freedom
Admiral Whitcomb mentions exactly that when reviewing how many bombs they had available - he was specifically reserving one for High Charity if they get a location.

Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Posted: 2018-11-06 04:47pm
by Sky Captain
Halopedia have a calculation putting original NOVA yield around 1,2 petatons assuming Joyous Exultation had really tiny moon orbiting fairly close which we don't know exactly. Increase the size of the moon and put it farther away and required yield easily will go into exaton range. You can get something like 200 kilotons out of 1 kg of fusion fuel, a petaton yield would be around 5 billion kg of fusion fuel, an exaton around 5 billion tons of fuel mass alone.

So yeah, NOVA would have to be either improbably big or made of some super dense stuff that can undergo fusion reaction. Then you have the problem of moving that much mass around without huge freighter. My favorite solution is that most of the yield comes from some unmentioned source (hyperspace, slipspace whatever) and the big bomb is just a trigger.

Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Posted: 2018-11-06 05:00pm
by Eternal_Freedom
Yeah the exact yields are a long way off what is plausible unless the device is very bulky and/or (probably and) includes some super-dense fusion fuel. Of course this version has naquada enhancements as well, but frankly it's so far beyond any other weapon system they have that it doesn't need them. Hell, a Covenant supercarrier was 400,000 km away (Earth-Moon distance!) and still had it's shields completely drained - the same shields that can tank 20 S-MAC rounds or one full-power superlaser shot from Nemesis. Hmmm...I wonder if I can use that as a basis of comparison?

For the sake of argument, let's say the rear aspect of a supercarrier is, say, 10 km^2. So 1000 gigatons per 10 km^2, or 100 gigatons per km^2. Surface area of sphere 400,000 km in radius is just over 2 trillion square km, so 200 trillion gigatons total energy released..or 200,000 exatons. Fuck a duck. Or 8.4E32 Joules. That is actually enough to overcome gravitational binding energy of an Earth-sized planet, so it really is a planet killer.

Or in other terms, the same amount of energy that our Sun emits in 16 days.

Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Posted: 2018-11-06 10:21pm
by fnord
Terran Navy Special Arm - "Don't Make Us Come Over There."

So, in book 1, we had lots of giant frikkin' lasers, nukes aplenty, leeroying ships, and an accidental metric weapon. Book 2, more lasers, more nukes, and actual brute-force atomic-wedgie planetbusters. How will that trend go in book 3?

Starbusters?

If Sky Captain's speculation about NOVA bombs mainly acting as a catalyst is correct, what happens when they go horribly right?

Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Posted: 2018-11-07 01:37pm
by Sky Captain
Killing hardened stuff in space with standoff omnidirecrional explosion is really hard. No atmosphere to transmit shock waves. So yeah, you have to really brute force it to have a large standoff distance and still achieve a kill. Heck, the enhanced NOVA could kill all surface life on a planet from 1 AU distance. Dumping 16 days worth of solar output in one go would superheat atmosphere and fry the surface on exposed side and generate the mother of all atmospheric shock waves. The flash would be visible to naked eye across interstellar distances.

I wonder what Admiral Watinree will think of this event if he survives both Warstars coming after him. He will crearly know this was some new kind of weapon, not just a bunch of missile warheads set off inside captured ship He has no way of knowing how many of those new bombs humans have. He should also come to conclusion that a more precisely targeted similar attack could wipe out his entire force. Splitting up his force would help, but increase wulnerability to defeat in detail by human conventional forces. His officers may become more vocal about retreating.

Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Posted: 2018-11-07 04:42pm
by Eternal_Freedom
Your comments are very much on-point. Remember that Supreme Commander Mastanee (as well as Thel and Silas) seem to favour breaking off the assault on Reach immediately and eliminating the Hierarchs before their losses become too great. This attack, and the Warstar strike still to come, will only make their voices louder (if only because before they were three of ten officers, now it's three of nine and if the losses are severe enough but they survive, well they may soon be in command anyway).

Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Posted: 2018-11-08 12:52pm
by fnord
That does tend to assume the dissenters - Mastanee et al - survive the (presumed) upcoming wtfpwnage. If they're blasted to plasma, I doubt their voices will be doing much of anything.

Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Posted: 2018-11-08 01:06pm
by U.P. Cinnabar
Especially if the Imperial Admiral puts their ships where they're most likely to be annhilated.

Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Posted: 2018-11-08 05:14pm
by Eternal_Freedom
Wattinree is too good a soldier to put capable officers on the firing line for political goals. Besides, he knows full well he'd need those same loyal, capable Supreme Commanders in the seemingly-inevitable Great Schism.

Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Posted: 2018-11-08 08:01pm
by U.P. Cinnabar
Eternal_Freedom wrote:
2018-11-08 05:14pm
Wattinree is too good a soldier to put capable officers on the firing line for political goals. Besides, he knows full well he'd need those same loyal, capable Supreme Commanders in the seemingly-inevitable Great Schism.
I guess he'll only do that, if he wants to sleep with one of his subordinates wives. Or if his mate cheats on him with one of his subordinates.