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Re: What tools exist at TL 15 to perform this contemporary hostage rescue mission?

Posted: Sat Dec 08, 2018 3:48 pm
by Moppy
Is it the noise of the rock munching, or the noise of the drill spinning? - I figure that a plasma drill probably makes the same noise regardless of what it's going through.

Since we're talking stealth, it means expensive & possibly classified. Does a black globe make a noise? I wouldn't normally be OK with that in an atmosphere, but inside a tunnel you might be able to get away with it if you did something to equalise the pressure behind the vehicle.

Like you, I actually don't understand how you can make an omni-directional system, but Traveller has electromagnetic masking and I assume that's engineered to deal with networked sensor grids, so I think they have that sorted by TL 15.

I'm not prepared to come down one way or the other yet, as to whether or not a seismograph will work.

edit: What even happens with a black globe, gravity and anti-grav?

Re: What tools exist at TL 15 to perform this contemporary hostage rescue mission?

Posted: Sat Dec 08, 2018 4:32 pm
by AnotherDilbert
Moppy wrote: Is it the noise of the rock munching, or the noise of the drill spinning? - I figure that a plasma drill probably makes the same noise regardless of what it's going through.
I assume the noise of the spinning drill is trivial in comparison to the crushing of rock.

If the "plasma-drill" is turning the rock into plasma it would basically be a continuous explosion, hardly discrete.

Moppy wrote: Since we're talking stealth, it means expensive & possibly classified. Does a black globe make a noise? I wouldn't normally be OK with that in an atmosphere, but inside a tunnel you might be able to get away with it if you did something to equalise the pressure behind the vehicle.
A Black Globe absorbs all energy, an atmosphere would be an almost infinite source of energy. Boom...

Moppy wrote: I'm not prepared to come down one way or the other yet, as to whether or not a seismograph will work.
It's your game.

Moppy wrote: edit: What even happens with a black globe, gravity and anti-grav?
A ship can't manoeuvre while the globe is on. I assume it can follow curved space-time, hence fall.

Re: What tools exist at TL 15 to perform this contemporary hostage rescue mission?

Posted: Sat Dec 08, 2018 9:19 pm
by heron61
Reynard wrote:
Sat Dec 08, 2018 1:19 pm
"I don't see any portable densiometers listed and that might be because it's too small for such a task.
Page 111 of the corebook, with stats 2 pages earlier (TL14, 5 kg).

As for drilling through rock, the big questions are how quiet TL15 plasma drills are compared to modern drilling tech - presumably at least somewhat quieter, but beyond that it's difficult to tell. Also, a drilling speed of 20-50 kph (which the grinder has) allows for a remarkably fast entry if you only need to tunnel less than a kilometer. One big question we don't have an answer for is how easily and quietly can you drill a 5 cm or so hole through rock, because that gets robots into the base.

Re: What tools exist at TL 15 to perform this contemporary hostage rescue mission?

Posted: Sat Dec 08, 2018 10:41 pm
by Reynard
Ah yes, there it is. "The remote densitometer uses an object’s natural gravity to measure its density, building up a three-dimensional image of the inside and outside of an object." and next to no actual stats on it's capability. How big an object? Is a kilometers deep mountain an object? Somehow I don't think it come close to a starship sized sensor.

A 5 cm wide hole isn't a problem as much as being able to bore extremely long distances. Remember you can't set up close to the area of the base without encountering security measures and even then the base is purposely deep to secure it from most outside influences. I'm sure the power needed to bore will not be part of the tiny object doing the boring.

Re: What tools exist at TL 15 to perform this contemporary hostage rescue mission?

Posted: Sun Dec 09, 2018 12:10 am
by baithammer
The Densitometer is able to operate against ships around 500,000t, so lighting up a base with it isn't a problem.

Re: What tools exist at TL 15 to perform this contemporary hostage rescue mission?

Posted: Sun Dec 09, 2018 1:08 am
by Reynard
Even a ship that big is dwarfed by a few cubic kilometers of rock. A ship's sensor has power behind it to penetrate both (with its own limits). A 5 kg handheld densiometer is only going to be good closer to meters or tens of meters in a small area to forward direction. It will probably enough to peer through the relatively thin hull of a ship or vehicle as well as many structures but lots of bedrock should be a good barrier.

Re: What tools exist at TL 15 to perform this contemporary hostage rescue mission?

Posted: Sun Dec 09, 2018 1:28 am
by heron61
Reynard wrote:
Sat Dec 08, 2018 10:41 pm
A 5 cm wide hole isn't a problem as much as being able to bore extremely long distances. Remember you can't set up close to the area of the base without encountering security measures and even then the base is purposely deep to secure it from most outside influences. I'm sure the power needed to bore will not be part of the tiny object doing the boring.
A lot of how quiet and easy this is depends upon the rock you're going through. TL15 starships have sensors that should be able to give you a nice breakdown of the different rock types. If you've got sedimentary rock like shale or sandstone, then a really hot drill (likely just a small probe with a plasma emitter on one end and a really long power cable on the other) can melt through it and push the molten rock out of the way, since sedimentary rock takes up less space when melted. That doesn't seem practical for crewed vehicle, but sounds to me like an excellent option for stealthily sending in small robots. Also, when you are getting close to breaking through, you send a robot with a densitometer through the tunnel and let it scout things out before you break though.

OTOH, if you've got basalt, you're more likely to be detected. However, even if you're dealing with basalt, if a vehicle like the grinder exists, then a mini-version with a long power capable seems possible, and if it has got anything like the same speed as the grinder (let's assume 10 kph, since it's likely not going to be as fast as the grinder's 20-50 kph), getting through 2-3 km rock takes less than 20 minutes. If you set up some sort of diversion involving blasts a couple kilometers away, there's no reason to assume TL8 sensors will specifically notice a 5-7 cm borer working for only 12-18 minutes.

So, land in a heavily stealthed ship's boat carrying a grinder and the mini-drill and suchlike, send some of your people out to create a diversion (all wearing visilight cammo), or have the orbiting ship make some threats like "Release the hostages or we do "this to your base", where "this" is bombard someplace a few kilometers away for the time your mini-drill takes to bore through all but the last few inches, do some close range densitometer scans to get more detail, and depending upon where you are about to make a hole, either do so or drill a new one after another diversion. Then, send in robots, and prep the grinder, so it can move in once the hostages are safe, and well before any reinforcements arrive (since a grinder should be able to manage 3 km of rock in 6 minutes).

Re: What tools exist at TL 15 to perform this contemporary hostage rescue mission?

Posted: Sun Dec 09, 2018 9:54 am
by Condottiere
Meson box bombardment around everywhere the hostages are located, and then the Marine Special Forces/Hostage Rescue teams have to be able to move in before the hostages are harmed.

Amateur hostage takers tend to learn from botched rescue attempts, as they then separate them.

Re: What tools exist at TL 15 to perform this contemporary hostage rescue mission?

Posted: Sun Dec 09, 2018 10:49 am
by heron61
Condottiere wrote:
Sun Dec 09, 2018 9:54 am
Meson box bombardment around everywhere the hostages are located, and then the Marine Special Forces/Hostage Rescue teams have to be able to move in before the hostages are harmed.
Between the radiation and the large explosion, unless the base is huge, that sounds like a great way to kill everyone and bring down the roof on the bodies, or at minimum to fry everyone there with radiation. Even if you're only using the vehicle mounted meson gun, can it really be targeted that precisely?

One question I have is how much rock does 10 or 15 points of starship armor represent? A buffered planetoid only gives you AP 4, a tachyon cannon barbette does AP 10, and a tachyon cannon medium bay does AP 15. Given that it lacks the radiation trait, if it can pierce the rock (I'm betting not, but I'm also not certain), a tachyon cannon might also work, and would definitely be safer than a meson gun (but my guess is the rock is too thick).