Right, I've finally hit the halfway mark, I've read longer books but few of them felt this long. Anyway, since the discussion is quickly outrunning my posting of data-points, I decided to treat myself to a short break and just post what I have so far. 'K?Other/Misc:
The battleglobes were constructed of layer upon layer of combat ships. A direct hit by an antimatter warhead would strip a layer off a section of the exterior but the inner ships would simply blow the damage off and reengage. Thus the theory of using a massive punch to break them up and then engaging the scattered ships with "secondaries." But that required not only fleets of secondary ships, fighters, frigates and destroyers, but a massive central capital ship.
However, rather than wait until the Fleet was fully prepared the Galactic command had thrown more and more ships, practically right out of the shipyards, into the battle. Pissing them away in dribs and drabs not only in Terran space but over Barwhon and Irmansul. The loss of the ships, the secondaries that were vital to the overall plan, was bad enough, but the loss of trained personnel had been devastating.
The second invasion wave was fully in swing before the first "superdreadnought" was launched. This massive ship, nearly four kilometers long, was designed to use its spinal hypercannon to break up the globes. And it worked with remarkable facility. Coming in at high velocity from Titan Base the Lexington smashed two of the globes headed for Terra. And then it was swarmed.
Thousands of smaller ships, the skyscraper shaped Lampreys and C-Dec command ships, surrounded the beleaguered superdreadnought and pounded it to scrap. Despite the heavy anti-ship defenses along the sides and despite the massive armor it was stripped to a hulk by repeated antimatter strikes. Finally, when no further fire was forthcoming, the wreckage was left to drift. So durable was the ship the generators at its core were never touched and it was eventually salvaged and rebuilt. But that took more years, years that the Earth didn't have.
Mike wondered how many other wives and husbands, mothers and fathers were pissed away by the goddamned Fleet. By "admirals" who couldn't pour piss out of a boot with the instructions on the heel. By a high command that kowtowed to the damned Darhel. By senior commanders who had never seen a Posleen, much less killed one.
Just a touch about the space situation, and the superdreadnought design. MAD MIKE is not happy with the armchair admirals who suck-up to the Darhel. Clearly they are out of touch, having never even seen the Posleen, unlike the thousands of spacemen who calmly looked the enemy in the eye from thousands of km away before firing their great hypercannon and smashing Posleen ships, spraying them with yellow blood.
Mosovich, however, could see the normals fairly clearly. The Land Warrior system was proving its worth again, giving him the capability to easily direct and redirect fire on the targets in the gap, enhancing the team's vision and permitting them to communicate clearly. Shoot, move and communicate was what war at all levels was about. But it was especially critical at the level of the small team and the suits were a real boon.
They weren't perfect though. Advanced research on them had more or less been halted at the start of the war and even with the Galactic power systems they were fairly heavy. They also did not have GalTech clarity levels in low light; there was a particular problem with depth perception that seemed insoluble without the Galactic ability to make continuous micro-sensors.
But what they did, they did very well. Mosovich picked out another target, bringing the aiming bead onto the target and squeezing the trigger of the Advanced Infantry Weapon. The system used a series of sensors in the suit and the weapon to determine the accuracy of the shot and whether any inaccuracy was the fault of the weapon or the operator. If any inaccuracy was an environmental input, whether a temperature change in the barrel or a shift in the wind, the system automatically compensated on the next shot. If it was the fault of the operator it simply sulked in electronic silence. In this case it determined that the 7.62 round would miss its target point by less than three centimeters in the four hundred meters of flight. Since this was well within its margin of error, it made no adjustments.
Mosovich knew, intellectually, what was going on, but he wasn't really worried. The system had proven to be better "straight out of the box" than he had had any inkling would be possible and he had come to depend upon the accuracy of the system. It occasionally "threw" shots, but it enhanced his own already expert marksmanship to stellar levels. Especially in this half-light, half-dark.
Even the army men without power armor get the fruits of the canceled Land Warrior, predecessor and part of the likewise canceled Future Force Warrior project, though in fairness it was canceled after the books came out. The idea was basically to put a computer in a soldier’s helmet that would integrate his communications and weapons, with an eyepiece that could give him night vision, camera display, or downloadable maps. Plus better body-armor and rifle, which were kept after the project but which mostly suck. What was it someone said about these books reading like a firearm fanboy’s checklist?
Tommy stood at the counter, aimlessly whistling through his teeth for a moment, then picked up a copy of Guns and Ammo, one of the few magazines to survive the collapse in publishing. He flipped through a couple of pages looking at the new Desert Eagle .65 design. He, personally, thought that anyone smaller than him would be as likely to knock themselves out as be able to fire the damned thing. But some people just had to have the biggest gun on the block.
Words fail me. A .65 handgun?
"Cool," the master sergeant said. He dropped the magazine and jacked out the round up the spout. The brass and steel cartridge was as big around as his thumb. "Jesus! That's a big goddamned round!"
"You can lose a .45 cartridge in the shell casing," Papa O'Neal said with a laugh. "I did that one time reloading. And the bullet's the new Winchester Black Rhino .50. It'll put a Posleen down with one shot almost anywhere you hit it. And there are seven. I got tired of carting around a rifle all the damned time."
For the non-firearm fanboys out there, Winchester refers to a famous line of shotguns, and a Black Rhino is a nigh-legendary hoax bullet made of plastic which had both armor-piercing capabilities and after penetrating would fragment into thousands of pieces. Sort of a poor man’s bolter. Except that after calls to ban the ‘cop-killer’ bullet before it hit the streets in the '90s, the whole thing turned out to be a fake. Yes, the plastic
armor-piercing frag bullet isn’t real. Shocking, I know.
I can think of two possibilities here, RIngo heard about the Black Rhinos, sans the ‘fake’ part and thought ‘cool!’ or in-universe they use the advanced knowledge of GalTech to actually produce the things as a specialized anti-Posleen bullet. Why, I’m not sure since Posleen don’t use armor, and a .50 should kill them pretty easily anyway.
"Oh, it took a few years to set them all up," Papa O'Neal said with a laugh, sending a stream of tobacco juice to the floor. "And I did it bit by bit, so the cost wasn't all that bad. Also . . . there's some government programs now to do this sort of thing. At least that's what they're really about if you read the fine print: The BATF would shit if Congress had come right out and said as much. And recently, well . . ." He grinned and shook his head. "Let's just say that my son has done pretty well financially in this war."
Mosovich had to admit that was probably the case. The Fleet used something similar to prize rules, a combination of Galactic laws and human application. Since the ACS was generally the lead assault element, they got the maximum financial benefit of all the captured Posleen weaponry, ships and stores that generally were lying around in a retreat. He also noted that Papa O'Neal had neatly sidestepped the question of how many similar caches there were.
"And he's a great source of surplus," Mueller said, kicking a grav-gun ammo case.
"Uh, yeah," Papa O'Neal said with another grin. "They go through a lot of grav-gun ammo."
Fleet salvage rules again, a discreet program of encouraging people to make ammo caches, and O’Neal senior has a couple of grav guns.
About forty five seconds after he dropped it, the plastic oblong quivered, turned over and—with a slight "huff" of expelled air—threw out three fishing lines, complete with treble hooks. Then, with an almost unnoticeable clicking noise, it slowly pulled the lines in until the treble hooks caught on the surrounding vegetation. At that point the device was apparently satisfied and settled back into quiescence.
SF booby-trap. A bomb that deploys its own tripwires. Actually a mine.
The device he dropped on the trail had started life as a scatterable mine. The devices were packed into artillery rounds and fired into battlefields to "scatter" and create a problem for the enemy to deal with.
The Posleen response to minefields was to drive normals across them. It was an effective method of clearing and, from the Posleen's point of view, very efficient since they would scavenge the bodies for weapons and equipment then butcher the dead for rations.
Therefore, generally the humans didn't use scatterable mines. While "every little bit helped" in killing Posleen, by and large minefields were pretty inefficient. There were, generally, and with the exception of Bouncing Barbies, better uses for artillery.
Scatterable mines themselves, however, were a different story. In bygone days the sergeant major probably would have stopped to set a claymore. While that might have been more effective, it also took more time. Or, if he was in a real hurry, he would drop a "toe-popper," a small mine that would detonate if stepped on. But toe poppers were, at best, wounding. And, unless you dug a small hole and hid it, which took time, they were also easy to spot.
One of the modified scatterable mines, though, was just about perfect. The "fishing lines" were monofilament trip-wires. They threw out the hooks then pulled them in until there was a graduated resistance. At that point, the mine was "armed" and if the lines were disturbed in any way, either by pulling or cutting, the mine would detonate.
No matter how it was dropped, the first thing the mine did was right itself. So when detonated, as in this case when the lead oolt'os of the approaching company charged up the saddle, it would fly up one meter and send out a hail of small ball bearings.
The Wall was over seven stories high at the point that it passed through Black Mountain gap, with each level sporting a different mix of weaponry. These ranged from Shrike light anti-lander systems to giant sheets of directional mines called Longswords. In the last five years only one attack had made it to the Wall, and that one had been repulsed by the Longswords.
The Wall, ie the major (only) defensive line for the American Interior. Before the wall, there is only an artillery-scarred no man’s land, plus some barbed wire and stakes, close in. Behind the Wall is a small network of trenches, but after those its smooth sailing. It was going to be a large network, but somehow they never quite got around to making more than three lines, though they should slow the Posleen down a fair bit. Whatever advantages their body-shape gives the Posleen, they are not adapted for jumping down into trenches, then climbing back out the other end. Or clambering up heaps of broken rubble. Or sharp slopes.
But, really, it was the Gatling guns, and the artillery hammering down from above, that did most of the damage.
The gun was mounted on an M27-G2 semi-fixed mount. On command, it would automatically move back and forth across a fixed azimuth, putting out a hail of bullets. The firing circuit was keyed in parallel with all the other guns in the B-14 zone, and at the press of a button, a button located in an armored command center, all twelve weapons would open up, each spitting out either 2000 or 4000 rounds per minute, depending on the setting, and filling the air with 7.62 rounds.
At least, that was the theory. The M134 was a fairly reliable system and the basic M27 mount design was older and more tried than Buckley. But tiny changes in design, necessary to convert both systems to a ground, universal availability, fixed, remotely controlled firing system instead of an aerial, regular availability, firing system, had led to tiny quirks, some of them related to the design, but most of them related to trying to integrate it. To manage those quirks, six soldiers, under Sergeant Buckley, were supposed to keep the guns mechanically functional and "fed" both between battles and during them.
Semi-automated gatling guns on the Wall. How insanely useful they would have been anywhere else, at any other time. Hells, it'd be kind of nice if they could dial the grav-rifles back to 2-4,000 rpm.
The round was based on a standard 155 millimeter round. But instead of explosive it carried more dangerous weapons: a camera and a radio.
As the round left the distant artillery gun, a shroud fell away and the camera was uncased. Using an internal gyroscope it compensated the sensor mount against the spin of the round and kept the camera pointed at the indicated target, which in this case was the ground.
The camera was only a sophisticated visual light system; transmitting systems such as millimeter wave radar were engaged by every God King and lander in sight. But the visual light system was able to pick out the shapes of Posleen and Posleen devices from the background clutter, sending the data back to the intelligence center in narrowly directed, short, encrypted bursts.
Despite the short, directed transmissions, the Posleen were able to detect and destroy the rounds most of the time in flight and they did so in this case, catching the round as it passed over Lake Burton, but leaving all its non-transmitting brethren, who only carried high explosives and lethal shrapnel, alive.
Ryan shook his head in bafflement. None of the humans could understand why the Posleen were so damned effective at destroying anything that maneuvered or transmitted, but left "ordinary" artillery alone. He checked the FireFinder radar, which actively worked with the gun targeting systems to ensure accuracy, and, sure enough, the rest of the rounds went on their way to the target.
The picture that had come back from the round was interesting enough. The artillery had reached over fourteen thousand feet in its parabolic arc, and the "visual footprint" had stretched from Dahlonega to Lake Hartwell.
Sensor round, i.e. howitzer-launched video camera. They always get shot down (God-king autotargeting works for radar detection and radio transmission, but that last is REALLY inconsistent) but they usually get a good look around first. A moment later, they set them to transmit their take after a set delay, a second or two before they’d impact the ground anyway.
The static rappel system was one of the first that used the more advanced Galactic sciences in a device of purely human design and manufacture. Humans had implemented "old" Galactic technology, some of which was close to the cutting edge of human tech and theory, in many designs. New gun barrels were the most common devices, but there were also some small railguns designed for humans and "human only" fusion plants, that were only five or six times the size of equivalent Galactic and about a third as efficient.
This device was the first that used theories that were beyond human ken. The Tchpth considered gravity to be, at best, a toy and, at worst, a minor nuisance. A few of their "simpler" theories were explainable to humans, such as the theory that led to the Galactic bounce tube.
When Indowy wanted to travel up or down in their megascrapers, they generally travelled by bounce tube. This was a narrow tube that went to a specific floor. You entered it and if you were at the bottom it shot you to the top and if you were at the top it let you drop to a screaming (in initial usage this was literal) stop at the bottom. What it took humans a while to discover was that while bounce tubes were "active" devices on the lift side, they were "passive" on the drop. That is, a device at the bottom detected something coming in at high velocity, generated a very minor field and when the item hit the field it was decelerated using its own positive momentum for energy.
The Tchpth and Indowy considered this purely efficient. The humans initially considered it magic.
However, after staying up for several days, smoking a large amount of an illicit substance and taking a very long shower, a research grad at CalTech suddenly realized that if you took some of the things that the Tchpth were saying and turned them on their sides . . . sort of, it was a lot of very good stuff . . . it made a certain amount of sense. Then she wrote them down and slept for three days.
After deciphering what she wrote, which, as far as anyone but her mother was concerned was apparently Sanskrit, she created a little box that when thrown at a wall "threw back." The energy usage involved was no more than that of a small sensor and it always threw back, even when fired from a low velocity pneumatic cannon. (The cannon was called a "chicken gun" and was usually used to test aircraft windshields. But that is another story.)
There was a current upper limit on the device, that is, when fired at very high velocity it tended to break the windshield, and it was better at stopping itself than it was at stopping stuff coming at it. So there was no "personal forcefield."
In other words, it was a very fast way to get to the ground in relative safety.
The device was modified and adjusted until it didn't just stop itself, but created a "static repulsion zone" which, when there was a situation of sudden kinetic change, damped that change. Then it was turned over to TRW for manufacturing purposes. The device was being installed on every vehicle still on the roads and in other places where sudden stops happened in a bad way. And it was issued to all the LRRP teams.
Static rappel system. Basically a magic device that lets you step off a cliff and land without needing to bend your knees, because it redirects the energy of your falling motion into a braking force. Naturally, the first thing to do is install it in cars.
We also have a couple other examples here of tech built by humans, from local materials, using Galactic sciences. Like the heat-dispersing barrels from the manjacks, some railguns, and even fusion. Though I wonder what great obstacle there is to using Posleen railguns, their hands are four-fingered with great big claws, but that shouldn’t be too serious an obstacle. They don’t have sights, but it must be easier to add sights than to design and build your own railguns from scratch. Perhaps the centauroid body shape can handle recoil better?
After the last reconnaissance debacle, the corps commander had ordered a halt to long-range patrols for the time being. The gap was being taken up by increased use of unmanned aerial vehicles and scout crawlers. The former were small aircraft, most of them not much larger than a red-tailed hawk, that hovered along in the trees, probing forward against the Posleen lines. The problem with them was that the Posleen automated systems identified and destroyed them with remarkable ease. So they would only get a brief view of any Posleen activity. Crawlers—which looked like foot-long mechanical ants—did a little bit better. But even they had not been able to penetrate very far; whoever was commanding the Posleen had the main encampment screened tighter than a tick.
Suicidal UAVS are used in the same manner as the recon shells from before. There’s also a ground version, but I’m sure we can do better than that with existing technology.