This novel is somewhat better than the last novel in some ways, but its largely ruined by the trek-like incidents (the sensor indications, the references to subspace, whatnot.) the continued literal "age of sail" broadside battling is even more prominent, and the inveterant tau/Rogue Trader wank. Nonetheless there are still plenty of interesting tidbits from a technical standpoint, if not literary. And that's why we're here.
- the holographic display Lucian's heavy cruiser uses is described as a "nigh-extinct technology" - which is odd, because you ather commonly see Guard units using it (IE Cain novels most frequently, but others like Rebel Winter, the Ghosts novels, and so on and so forth.)
Then again, it would also be like Lucian to think he's got "nigh extinct" technology that everyone else finds common.
This confirms something we've known since Execution Hour, many Space Marine vehicles (and like vessels used by other organisations, like Arbites strike cruisers) are far more powerful than vessels of equal tonnage. Partly this might be do to better technology, but mainly its due to specialization - SM vessels tend to emphasize speed and firepower and durability over endurance and range (as outlined in Execution Hour.) And alot of the firepower advantage comes from heavy ordnance (railguns, missiles, bombardment cannon, esp using explosive warheads) rather thanLucian glanced out of the viewing port as his helmsman spoke, catching sight of a distant point of light speeding ahead. The Nomad was a frigate, far smaller than Lucian's heavy cruiser, but being a Spacee Marine vessel it was far more deadly than the average ship of her displacement.
Mind, this isn't true in all cases - there are Astartes vehicles that may be weaker or less powerful (the soul drinkers novels had them, and I think the Blood Angels or Deathwathc novels by Goto had em too.) Its probably all a amtter of tradeoffs between various needs and purposes, they may trade firepower for increased operational range, for example.
There are "dozens" of other (Imperial) vessels aside from the Space Marine frigate and the three Arcadius ships. They're identified as "battle cruisers, cruisers, and escorts. The fleet spanned "fifty kilometers" Additionally mentioned are six other Spacee Marine frigates. This encompasses the vessels of the Damocles Gulf crusade, but it does not (yet) break them down in any detail.
"sub-space" sensor banks. I dont know if this is FTL or not, but the intention seems to indicate this, given some of the later references to "sub-space" And, again, it seems to be yet another indication that Hoare draws his naval inspiration from Star TrekHe looked instead to the flickering holograph, the device, or more accurately, the sub-space sensor banks that fed it, evidently beginning to suffer form the same interference plaguing their communications systems.
Given later comments this also suggests they're active sensors, not passive.
Again the opposing ships seem to be just out of visual sight (or just barely, far enough away they aren't easily recognizable) implying intiial engagement ranges of hundreds if not thousands of kilometers, nto that Hoare will acknowledge this.Looking up, through the wide viewing port now entirely filled by the globe of Sy'l'Kell, Lucain could just make out the tiny, blue pinprick of light.
The fact the Nomad (space marine vessel) is indistinguishable against the planet's backdrop suggests its considerably distant as well, nearly beyond visual sighting itself. Which in turn reinforces the "hundreds/tohusands" of kilometers bit.Only the Nomad was ahead of Lucian's hessel, the small frigate all but lost against the lurid glow of the planet's oceeans far below.
Tau ship fires on the Space Marine vessel, and it still seems to be just in visual range (close enough to discern a rough shape, but still far enough away to not be easily visible.) There's also the fact the station is doubtless larger than the Imperial vessel.Lucian saw from where the projectile had been fired, as a long silhouette glided into view against the turquoise oceans of Sy'l'Kell.
The target, towards which the stricken Space Marine frigate still sped, was now visible. A mighty space station,s ahped like some giant mushroom, blue lights twinkling up and down its stalk, wallowed at the center of the viewing porrt, its bulk black against the lurid seas of the planet around which it orbited. A vessel emerged from behind that station; the same vessel that had come so close to destroying, in a single shot, a frigate of the White Scars Chapter of the Adeptus Astartes.
- Lucian orders his gunnery officer to fire on the Tau ship. The Gunnery officeer protests at not having a firing solution "yet". Lucian still tells him to fire. As established earlier, the probable range between the vessels is somewhere in the hundreds of kilometers range, though it could be closer (tens of kilometers)"That's what she thinks" replied Lucian. "Ordnance? Open fire!"
"But, sir', the ordnance officer sputtered, 'I have no firing solution. We'll..."
"I said open fire damn you!" bellowed Lucian. "Do it, or so help me..."
Lucian was glad to see that the officer had the presence of mind to order the broadside before his master could complete, or indeed enact, his threat. The Oceanid shuddered as the port weapons batteries unleashed a fearsome barrage towards the tau vessel.
Imperial starhsip Cannon projectiles (or at least some kinds) are guided munitions, implying some form of rocekt-assisted propulsion (at least in some cases.)Lacking a solid firing solution for the war spirits of the super-heavy munitions to follow, the majority of the shells went wide, their fuses detonating them at random across the space between the two ships.
- five hundred meters is described as "impossibly close". Maybe Hoare isn't totally clueles about space combat....Lucian judged that the distance between the two ships would level at an impossibly close five hundred metres before they parted once more. Five hundred metres, he mused, remembering just how deadly anodier tau vessel had almost proved at such a close range in a previous engagement.
- seven hundred metres from the Tau vessel. Lance battery on the dorsal side of the Oceanid gets a firing solution at this point. Not that I feel a need to comment that a Lance battery ought to have a longer range.
Really I dont know what to say at this point. Man powered lance turrets. Only in 40K. You'd think Lucian'd at least use serivtors...Lucian knew that even now, the sweating crews in the lance batteries atop the Oceanid would be toiling at the traversing mechanisms of their turrets, cursing crew chiefs threatening them with eternal damnation should they falter in their work.
"atomic fire" - either means some sort of nuclear (fusion?) beam or som e sort of partticle beam. I find it rather amusing the tau armor suits (deployed agian here, for boarding attacks) don't get out of the way of the beam and are vaporized effortlessly.An instant later the lance batteries spat a searing beam of condensed atomic fire at the tau vessel, parrting the smoking clouds, spearing the open bay, vaporising the armoured figures and passing clean out the other side of the module, accompanied by a rapidly expanding cone of fire and debris.
- the hole created by the lance strike is described as twenty metres in diameter.
Tau decoy drones, as countermeasues devices. Note the "etheric signature" reference. Given alot of later referencese to "etheric" and "sub-etheric" stuff in regards to warp phenomena (likes subspace) this may yet be another warp-based type sensor or something. Possibly FTL, but evidently passive. Which is interesting, because the Tau don't generally use warp-tech the way the Imperium or Eldar or other races do, yet these "etheric" sensors can be used for targeting.A shoal of miniscule white objects, each propelled by a small, blue jet, was swarming across the gap between the two ships. So these were the cause of the fire control failure, Lucian realised. They were some kind of decoy, ach, judging by their movements, possessed of some manner of machine intelligence, their density and erratic course confounding any efforrt to get a target lock on the mother ship.
"I can't get a solution at this range, my lord," the ordnance officer reported. "whatever those things are, each one has an etheric signature far in excess of its size. All together like that, at such close range..."
These are the same space battlesuits from Rogue Star. Again they're probably not the same as the ground combat suits in the game. "Fusion weapon" is open ended. It may be something like a meltaweapon of some power or size, or it may be a nuclear/melta charge/bomb of some kind. Note they're only mentioned as a threat to a "crippled" vessel (IE one that is damaged already, shielded, etc.) They took several seconds to vaporize, but we can estimate their durabiliitles roughly.The Nomad's drives flared into life, crimson fire belching form them. The swarm of tau decoys was almost upon the Nomad when her drives spat into life, and they were incinerated in an instant, seared to ash and scattered into the void in a matter of seconds.
There, where the decoys had been clustered most densely, Lucian saw what he had guessed would be revelaed: more of the tau armoured suits. Each was equipped with fusion weapons capable of ripping a crippled vessel to glowing pieces, and they had sought to approach the wounded frigate under the cover of the decoys. Now, the suits battled against the steadily increasing wash of the Nomad's drives. Armoured plating, the likes of which Lucian had rarely seen, kept them going, even though the unprotected decoys had lasted mere seconds. The fire of the frigate's drives were so bright that Lucian was barely able to see. Nevertheless, he watched the bulking forms as they blackened, their metal skins melting and running off in great billowing streams of vaporised armour. He watched as each suit took on the aspect of a comet rapidly shedding its mass.
At last, the armoured suits were blasted to their constituent atoms as the Nomad's drives reached full output, the Space Marine frigate powering inexorably towards the space station, its ultimate target.
Assuming the suits were somewhere bettween the mass of a BArracuda and a Broadside battlesuit (Between 4 and 7 tonnes, ,as per IA3) and composed of iron, they'd take at least 30 and 53 gigajoules to vaporize. This doesn't factor in shielding or other things (we know other battlesuits can be shielded, so why not these?)
Assuming a 1500 meter long, 200x300 meter frigate (roughly), and a about of silicon and 90% empty space, the ship will mass eomwhere in the 20 million tons. Assume somewhere between millions and several tens of millons of tons at least. Also assuming a single meter per second squared acceleration. Assuming an exhaus velocity of around 30% of c the energy output of the engines would be around 1e17-1e18 watts, with a intensity of around 1.6e12-1.6e13 watts/m^2.
This means (roughly) that the durabilities of these suits is somewhere in the double digit Gigajoule/gigawatt to triple digit GW/single digit TW and single/double digit terajoule range (though this one could be higher, since its multiple seconds against increasing power.)
Inicidentally, since we know earlier that a 20m diameter lancec beam vaporized a bunch of suits, we can estimate the lance output from above. THis would mean the lancese have at least an output of hundreds if not thousands of terajoules, at least, and probably much, much higher.
Mind you, the suits aren't able to take full engine output, this is really something like a "pre-start" warm up - since Starships can generate hundreds or thousands of gees of acceleration from a standing start.