August 11th, 2004


Batman / BtVS continues

Here's the next - and probably penultimate - part of the BtVS / Batman crossover Drabble series.

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Comments please - this is a lot better than my first draft of this segment, but I think it could stand comments from anyone who knows more about the US legal system than I do.
lost world

Another automaton - the "Kobold" Subterrene

Here's another coming attraction from FF9 - before anyone asks, the picture is supposed to be bad, it's explained why in the adventure in which it appears.

Krupp "Kobold" Subterrene Prototype (Prussia 1900)

Kobold subterrene prototypeBODY [35], MIND [4], SOUL [-], Military Arms (gunnery and explosives only) [7], Science (geology / seismology only) [7], Morse Code [4], Spelling [4]

Cost: Circa £50,000

Weight: 50 tons

Carrying Capacity: N/A

Endurance: 48 hours

Reaction Time: 5 seconds (3 seconds for turret)

Reliability: 7

Built-In Equipment: Swiss-built mind with precision arithmetic, Seismometer, compass, telegraph, cable-laying equipment, 4 x 1 ton land mines or 1 x 3 ton land mine. Armoured, all attacks -6 Effect, blocks all small-arms fire.

Retractable turret contains secondary brain (MIND [4], Military Arms (gunnery only) [7]) equipped with two monochrome eyes and rapid-fire 75mm cannon firing explosive shells.
1-ton mine20, Radius 20 ftICKTimed detonation
3-ton mine30, Radius 25 ftICKTimed detonation
Cannon15, Radius 2 ftICK2 shots / Rd.

Also Carried: N/A

Quote: (in Morse code) "RELEASING.. MINES.."

Description: A heavily-armoured cigar-shaped steel cylinder about 45ft long and 7ft wide tipped by a huge soil auger drill. The under-side of the hull is supported on two rows of heavy steel sprocket wheels linked by spiked drive chains. The interior is packed with machinery and lead-acid batteries for its electric motors. The rear hull has space for four one-ton mines or one three-ton mine, pushed out by a powerful hydraulic ram. They can be set to detonate up to five hours after release. A retractable turret amidships (shown extended in the picture) contains the secondary brain, eyes, and 75mm Gatling (not shown).

Notes: The Kobold is designed as a fully-automated vehicle, for missions too dangerous for a human crew. It's carried to the battlefield by train or on a huge steam-powered wagon, unloading and preparing it takes about an hour. Once under way it digs its way towards its target at about 5 MPH, steering by compass and dead reckoning. It can also be sent directions via its telegraph, but this is unreliable since the cable is likely to break sooner or later.

 The Kobold is steered by reducing the power to one side or the other so that it slews round, while simultaneously angling the drill right or left; since it must also cut the tunnel it moves through its minimal turning circle is at least a hundred yards. It can't move in reverse since its drill is at the front and the tunnel behind it is filled with earth and collapses behind it. Vertical course changes are made by adjusting the vertical angle of the drill. Again, it must travel some distance before there is any substantial change.

 When it reaches its target area it executes its orders - releasing its mines or surfacing just enough to fire its cannon - then returns to its launching point. It could instead be packed with explosives and set to detonate at its target, but this this would be a very expensive way to get a small increase of explosive power, Effect 35 instead of 30 for a 3-ton mine.

 Military planners are also considering a smaller version, a single-use subterrene torpedo containing a ton of explosives which would be easier to transport, but the Kobold must be seen to succeed before another research project is authorised.