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Dieselpunk Manifesto Part Ten: Niagara

Hello folks it's been a while since I looked in on our man out of time: Buck Rogers! This review deals with strips Buck Rogers strips 90-99 found   here . Things were looking up for Buck and Wilma, offered clemency by Andrew MacGregor, who were on their way to Niagara to officially become officers in the Org! Suddenly a bomb explodes off their rocket's beam. After being thrown for a loop MacGregor explains this was a warning shot from Niagara. Niagara air defense does not screw around. A radiogram would certainly serve as well. It turns out the air scout Buck and Wilma are flying can be operated like a ground vehicle. A rocketcyce patrolman (flying motorcycle!) makes them pull over to a landing platform. Wilma frets about getting a ticket which is an odd concern for a woman who grew up in a rural Org without ground vehicles (or you know streets). In any case Buck shows him his badge and they get off light. Apparently Niagara doesn't allow flying traffic in a certain

Superiority

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Earth was unprepared for a war with Mars. Her R-Ray technology lagged behind the Area forces. Mars had an larger and more experienced fleet and years of Arean subterfuge had greatly impeded Earth's involvement in the Solar System. Building more ships would take time but could be done. Earth had the edge in population and resources. Likewise, building more ships would lead to advances in R-Ray propulsion and weapons. To deal with Arean influence Earth turned to the Special Forces. Highly trained teams would land to gather intelligence, train allies, and damage Arean interests and property.  SpecFor in turn had two problems: lack of vehicles and lack of firepower. Most of the teams were transported via Luna class ships repurposed for covert operations. They were ostensibly merchants or explorers and did not mount ship vehicles. In many case SpecFor had vehicles provided by locals or they stole them. The SpecFor of course had lifter belts but these were not always sufficient. 

Come for the Piracy, Stay for the Sargasso!

As a young man I was introduced to the economics of grand theft auto by a person of the world. A stolen vehicle (in Brooklyn at least) never made it to a new owner in one piece. It turned out it was far more lucrative to disassemble it and sell the parts piecemeal. Mind you were talking about the fairly common mass produced cars here: Fords, Hondas, and such. Stealing a Lamborghini might be different, if you could find a Lamborghini in Brooklyn. So the stolen cars get the filleted and the unsalable parts get dumped in a scrap yard somewhere. It must be much the same with starships, captured by pirates. Every ship in a pirate fleet (if you even wanted such an organization) needs maintenance, supplies and fuel. The theft possible in a given area will only support so many ships. So unless a pirate has an immediate need for a ship, they will unload it and usually in pieces. The most valuable parts of a ship are, of course, its engines and generators allowed by computers and electronics

The First Sign of Resistance

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One of the quaint ideas of the Twentieth Century futurists was a sort of Solar Federation. Perhaps we'll have one someday. For now not a single Inner World has a world government. Even the United Earth Government has plenty of rogue states, isolationists and petty war lords. It is much the same with Mars and both planets have allies or at least snitches and agents on the other. Space Ship Thera was lifting from the Martian city state of Hellas when the Arctic Polar Lords decided to rattle their swords and they sent an attack saucer to intercept Thera and force her down. The saucer had powerful R-Ray propulsion and could out accelerate the Thera at least when it had a whole planet to use for reaction mass. Thera could have resorted to her thrusters and might have gotten away but the saucer gained altitude and charged her weapons and then the sword rattling turned into a gunfight. Martan Interdiction Saucer froma scan by ESS Thera. The saucer started it, that's clear,

Gravity is a Blast

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Diesel tech is equal to real world technology in many regards and behind it in several (user interfaces, programming, electronics and information storage). The area it really shines in is its generation, insulation and direction of gravity (or at least a force like gravity but let us not quibble). As Winchell Chung has said one of his peeves is gravity manipulation that is merely used to keep everyone on a spaceship agreeing on which way is up. In the dieselpunk setting gravity generators attract or repel the good old sun to travel great distances at appreciable acceleration (usually several meters.) In orbit around a planet the engines are capable of several gees of acceleration. On a moon or small body generators are purposely built to raise gravity to Mars levels at least two prevent muscle and bone degeneration. Some have touted gravity control as being able to create pressure curtains of air to replace airlocks but sadly these have a knack for pulverizing organic tissue (and s

EF Sticks

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The equipment was officially designated Electro Magnetic Frequency Scanner/Jammer. Predictably SpecFor agents short it to EF Sticks. Then they were ef-sticks. Then F--- Sticks with good reason. The EMFS/J was a small compact and hellaciously powerful radio frequency scanner. It could pinpoint transmissions and jam them. Power was provided by a customized solium fuel cell and later paired conductite superconductor rings. The 'stick' had a protective cover that was closed when not in use. Pushing the button on the side opened the cover and extended a small antenna. Pressing the square red button under the cover initiated jamming. Up to four signals could be jammed at once. The incredibly compact power source was a problem. If damaged badly sticks could explode with the force of several sticks of dynamite. Ruggedized construction made that unlikely for any damage that would leave the operator alive (those are really tough covers.) SpecFor agents used them to disrupt

Second Life for the Luna Class

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The Luna class began a a lie. Earth was getting ready to throw her weight around in the Solar System and needed intelligence of every sort. The class could function as a lab ship doing research or be modified to serve as a warship in a week or less. Furthermore, the research facilities, two labs and a library could quickly be converted to quarters to hold a squad of special forces. The Martians and Outer Moons looked suspiciously at the class' four triple fire launchers. "Pirates," Earth explained. Likewise the 40 tons of armor was purely a defensive measure. When hostilities began it was with the Venusians and another problem came up: the ships were not great at providing ground support. This was regarded as inaccurate targeting systems. It was later discovered the ordinance was flawed and special ground bombardment rounds were developed. In the meantime Earth's solution to ground support for troops in the Venusian jungle were a variety of heavily armed aerosp

Diesel Powered Fighters

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Okay first of all this started out as a project titled Scout Rocket. I began this because I felt I was hitting a wall with several other endeavors and needed a change of pace. Now you know how I work. I originally envisioned something akin to this: If you don't recognize the source material you're obviously a new reader. I liked this design but 1) I wanted something more original  my own style 2) I wasn't happy with the lines on it in general and felt I needed to work on my curves and such. After several tries I got this which I was comfortable with i.e. it needed a lot of tweaks. I tried to make it look similar to the Luna in some regards (note the Luna has undergone some big changes that I will be showcasing soon. The red rods are engine exhausts the yellow rods are where the dacha for the guns go. Still not happy I was looking over the fighter and had an 'Enterprise Incident'. When they were developing the the original Star Trek supposedly someo

Bright Shinies

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Like anyone else I love it when my characters have bright shines to play with. I also love dieselpunk and drawing gear for it is not as easy for me as rendering gear that looks like 'modern' futuristic equipment. In many ways it is similar to the quandary the the developers of Enterprise faced. they couldn't have gear that looked more advanced than the original series and yet cellular phones were quite common and making the previously cool communicators with the flip grill look dated already. With dieselpunk you need to make something that looks vaguely 1940's vintage but also has futuristic elements to it. I worked up some principles to follow, at least for my stuff. 1) It's clunkier than 'mainstream' SF gear. A communicator that can reach orbit will be the size of an old style phone receiver. But it will have some cool striping to let you know its futuristic and be capable of video calls. 2) Angles. Lots of angles. Streamlined gear is too mode

The Cost of Business

All traders know there will come a time when you are hailed, intercepted and boarded and you'd damned well better make the right decisions or risk getting your freighter shot to pieces, see your crew get shot to pieces and lose everything. The enemy has the weapons, has the troops, and the skill. They are the Patrol! Consider. The Fleet is the creation of a number of advanced and populated worlds. It exists to preserve the status quo, the fat freighter plying their way between major centers of commerce. They have the tax base to let them by the big ships, pay their crews the premium salaries and get the best and brightest. Any pirates operating in the core worlds better have a masterful plan, make their score and then go into cold sleep for a few hundred years. Out on the Frontier ... there is still commerce and trade (much of it legal). There are also pirates as always. The Frontier has the Patrol, armed well enough to raise merry Hell with one or more pirate ships. It'

Ship Dossier: Launches

Ship Dossier: Launches
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