SandySandfort on July 21, 2010, 01:36:57 pm
... They fire a burst of rocks into the cave on Dactyl. They adjust their aim simply by watching the stream of rocks and adjusting the aim of the mass driver. At 19 m/s (roughly as fast as a fast thrown baseball) a rock the size of a man's head would punch a hole in a shuttle. A stream of such rocks will demolish it. Fire just enough of a short burst to scare the crooks to come out and try to flee, then pour it on and destroy them.

Holy-moley! Doesn't that strike you as a bit... dangerous?  :o

Whether the brothers inadvertently disable their own shuttle is a matter of a bit of luck. But after wiping out the bad guys they could then get to Dactyl like this: step down the ejection speed of the mass driver so that it is ejecting at orbital velocity, then one man gets in it ("human cannonball") and is fired into the same orbit at Dactyl.

Piece of cake. :) I can hardly wait to be an anarcho asteroid belter.

There are old Belters and there are bold Belters, but there are no old, bold Belters.

Azure Priest on July 21, 2010, 01:51:31 pm
Aside from using the mass driver as either transport or a weapon, or using the rocket packs to try and "fly" to their "Cave sweet cave," I see two options.

1.) Rig up some kind of pressurized environment where they can reach their com gear. On the upside, they can actually send out a distress call, on the downside, the brothers, most likely, would seriously reduce their survival time.

2.) Set up a "reversal" trap. The brothers could fake some kind of critical malfunction that would lure these parasites to them early and then either capture or strand them. While this plan can be more feasible than the first, and more satisfying if orchestrated correctly, has several rather large downsides.

a.) The brothers would have to set up this plan in some manner without speaking. According to the comic, they are communicating via radio, and the "bad guys" are listening.

b.) The brothers' performance would have to be very convincing. While the bad guys are apparently amateurs at mining, they are not complete idiots. Setting up a "hunt" like this requires quite a bit of planning, forethought, and patience.

c.) The brothers would have no way to hear the bad guys approach. Being in space, there's no air for sound to move through. Unless the brothers have some way of making "dummies" that would be very convincing "frozen corpses," and then hiding behind some rock or outcropping, it would be very difficult to orchestrate a successful ambush, even if that "ambush" simply means stealing back their own shuttle.

d.) Bert and Ernie have no way of knowing (and neither do we) how many bad guys there are. There could be as little as two (one to pilot each shuttle or even one if Bert and Ernie's shuttle could be towed), or there could be half a dozen. While the old adage, "there's no honor among thieves" would apply some pressure to keep the number of conspirators low, good old fashioned greed, and the "thrill" of doing criminal activity and "getting away with it" could easily increase that number. Even if Bert and Ernie DO successfully execute an ambush on the shuttle pilot(s) that they lure to the Mascon, they could easily come back to the cave, only to find themselves outnumbered AND outgunned.

e.) Even if the number of bad guys is manageable, there is no way to know what "booby traps" they've set up should Bert and Ernie get the upper hand. They may even have employed "dead man switches" like Reggie did near the beginning of the comic. Aside from movies like "Predator," there's really no way to outrun or survive a small mining nuke except to already be somewhere else.

Their best bet would probably be a combination of luring the bad guys out to Mascon with a false "emergency" and then calling for help from inside the shuttle, should they commandeer one successfully.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2010, 02:01:59 pm by Azure Priest »

SandySandfort on July 21, 2010, 06:15:01 pm
This is a very well thought out and thorough analysis. Your conclusions may or may not turn out to be correct, but they are plausible. Trolls, please note. This is what paying attention looks like.  ;)

Aside from using the mass driver as either transport or a weapon, or using the rocket packs to try and "fly" to their "Cave sweet cave," I see two options.

1.) Rig up some kind of pressurized environment where they can reach their com gear. On the upside, they can actually send out a distress call, on the downside, the brothers, most likely, would seriously reduce their survival time.

2.) Set up a "reversal" trap. The brothers could fake some kind of critical malfunction that would lure these parasites to them early and then either capture or strand them. While this plan can be more feasible than the first, and more satisfying if orchestrated correctly, has several rather large downsides.

a.) The brothers would have to set up this plan in some manner without speaking. According to the comic, they are communicating via radio, and the "bad guys" are listening.

b.) The brothers' performance would have to be very convincing. While the bad guys are apparently amateurs at mining, they are not complete idiots. Setting up a "hunt" like this requires quite a bit of planning, forethought, and patience.

c.) The brothers would have no way to hear the bad guys approach. Being in space, there's no air for sound to move through. Unless the brothers have some way of making "dummies" that would be very convincing "frozen corpses," and then hiding behind some rock or outcropping, it would be very difficult to orchestrate a successful ambush, even if that "ambush" simply means stealing back their own shuttle.

d.) Bert and Ernie have no way of knowing (and neither do we) how many bad guys there are. There could be as little as two (one to pilot each shuttle or even one if Bert and Ernie's shuttle could be towed), or there could be half a dozen. While the old adage, "there's no honor among thieves" would apply some pressure to keep the number of conspirators low, good old fashioned greed, and the "thrill" of doing criminal activity and "getting away with it" could easily increase that number. Even if Bert and Ernie DO successfully execute an ambush on the shuttle pilot(s) that they lure to the Mascon, they could easily come back to the cave, only to find themselves outnumbered AND outgunned.

e.) Even if the number of bad guys is manageable, there is no way to know what "booby traps" they've set up should Bert and Ernie get the upper hand. They may even have employed "dead man switches" like Reggie did near the beginning of the comic. Aside from movies like "Predator," there's really no way to outrun or survive a small mining nuke except to already be somewhere else.

Their best bet would probably be a combination of luring the bad guys out to Mascon with a false "emergency" and then calling for help from inside the shuttle, should they commandeer one successfully.

terry_freeman on July 21, 2010, 11:38:56 pm
Isn't this "ock" an onboard computer of some complexity? Perhaps it knows enough to be able to compute trajectories and other good stuff.

terry_freeman on July 21, 2010, 11:40:02 pm
BTW, I totally want an OCK ... with lots of terabytes of online storage and compute capacity. :D

SandySandfort on July 21, 2010, 11:52:36 pm
Isn't this "ock" an onboard computer of some complexity? Perhaps it knows enough to be able to compute trajectories and other good stuff.

Computing a trajectory is one thing. Achieving it is another. Even if you know exactly which way to jump, your success relies on how accurately you can execute the jump.

Robert on July 22, 2010, 03:02:29 am
... They fire a burst of rocks into the cave on Dactyl. They adjust their aim simply by watching the stream of rocks and adjusting the aim of the mass driver. At 19 m/s (roughly as fast as a fast thrown baseball) a rock the size of a man's head would punch a hole in a shuttle. A stream of such rocks will demolish it. Fire just enough of a short burst to scare the crooks to come out and try to flee, then pour it on and destroy them.

Holy-moley! Doesn't that strike you as a bit... dangerous?  :o

Compared to what? It is less dangerous than just sitting there, which leads to certain death. By throwing a few rocks they might not be able to predict the outcome but a crucial benefit is that it is a disruptive element that changes the situation, disrupts the tidy plan of the attackers, and may open up new options for the brothers.

Quote
Whether the brothers inadvertently disable their own shuttle is a matter of a bit of luck. But after wiping out the bad guys they could then get to Dactyl like this: step down the ejection speed of the mass driver so that it is ejecting at orbital velocity, then one man gets in it ("human cannonball") and is fired into the same orbit at Dactyl.

Piece of cake. :) I can hardly wait to be an anarcho asteroid belter.

There are old Belters and there are bold Belters, but there are no old, bold Belters.

There are no timid belters. It takes a certain amount of boldness to get out there.

Robert on July 22, 2010, 03:35:44 am
There was no mention of the possibility of the mascon being mostlyly uranium (specific gravity = 19.05), which could occur naturally (half-life of billions of years).

By the way, since the brothers have already dug to within a couple of meters of the mascon, they might as well dig it up and see what they've got. Assuming that the bad guys are watching: another possibility is to put the mascon in the mass driver and shoot it out into space (with accompanying discussion to be overheard). The bad guys will chase after it since that is the reason they are there. As soon as they come out of the cave, pour it on with the rock-cannon and annihilate them. There might be some bad guys left but it would reduce the size of the problem.



John DeWitt on July 22, 2010, 06:55:21 am
Ah, I see I should have considered the mass driver.

Climbing into one, or however one goes about using it for personal transport, is not an idea that would have appealed to me.  Old, bold, and all that.  But then dying of asphyxiation doesn't have that many charms, either.


Azure Priest on July 22, 2010, 07:41:16 am

... They fire a burst of rocks into the cave on Dactyl. They adjust their aim simply by watching the stream of rocks and adjusting the aim of the mass driver. At 19 m/s (roughly as fast as a fast thrown baseball) a rock the size of a man's head would punch a hole in a shuttle. A stream of such rocks will demolish it. Fire just enough of a short burst to scare the crooks to come out and try to flee, then pour it on and destroy them.


There IS valid tactical reasoning using the mass driver in this manner; however, it would result in a "war of attrition" which the brothers would lose, even if all the bad guys were killed. It would be best to hold off on that approach until the threat of death is imminent and there's no other option. The phrase "if we have to go, we're taking you with us" would be very appropriate.

SandySandfort on July 22, 2010, 10:38:54 am
There IS valid tactical reasoning using the mass driver in this manner; however, it would result in a "war of attrition" which the brothers would lose, even if all the bad guys were killed. It would be best to hold off on that approach until the threat of death is imminent and there's no other option. The phrase "if we have to go, we're taking you with us" would be very appropriate.

Look guys, think about it. If somebody starts shooting little rocks at you, to get your attention. Wouldn't you just get in one of the ships and fly around to the back side of Dactyl? I mean, it's not as though you couldn't see them coming over the intervening kilometers. Just get the hell out of the way. Pirates-as-targets problem solved.

Robert on July 22, 2010, 12:47:05 pm
There IS valid tactical reasoning using the mass driver in this manner; however, it would result in a "war of attrition" which the brothers would lose, even if all the bad guys were killed. It would be best to hold off on that approach until the threat of death is imminent and there's no other option. The phrase "if we have to go, we're taking you with us" would be very appropriate.

Look guys, think about it. If somebody starts shooting little rocks at you, to get your attention. Wouldn't you just get in one of the ships and fly around to the back side of Dactyl? I mean, it's not as though you couldn't see them coming over the intervening kilometers. Just get the hell out of the way. Pirates-as-targets problem solved.

OK, and while the pirates are out of line-of-sight on the back of Dactyl, then you could make of your thrown "rocks" one of the Guzman brothers. They will somehow see him coming, you say, despite the bad guys being out of line of sight? The human cannonball could position himself behind a man-sized rock.

Robert on July 22, 2010, 12:56:52 pm
Anyway, isn't it supposed to be an "open carry" sort of society? So our human cannonball (camouflaged as a rock) will hardly be defenceless against any pirate remaining behind (while his colleagues hide out of sight and radio communication on the other side of Dactyl). When the other pirates come back to the cave they won't be aware that it has been recaptured by one of the brothers. He can pick them off from concealment.

J Thomas on July 23, 2010, 09:25:38 am
There was no mention of the possibility of the mascon being mostlyly uranium (specific gravity = 19.05), which could occur naturally (half-life of billions of years).

By the way, since the brothers have already dug to within a couple of meters of the mascon, they might as well dig it up and see what they've got.

Agreed, unless they come up with a good plan which does not give them time to do that. The mascon is an unknown, and finding out about it might help.

Quote
Assuming that the bad guys are watching: another possibility is to put the mascon in the mass driver and shoot it out into space (with accompanying discussion to be overheard). The bad guys will chase after it since that is the reason they are there.

Agreed. If some of the bad guys chase the mascon, that splits their forces and the remainder might be easier to do something about. If all of them go but they leave behind a lot of equipment etc, that gives Bert and Erny a chance if only they can get to it. If the bad guys all go after the mascon and they take everything with them, that's no improvement.

Quote
As soon as they come out of the cave, pour it on with the rock-cannon and annihilate them. There might be some bad guys left but it would reduce the size of the problem.

How fast can you shoot the stuff? So fast they can't get out of the way if they see it coming? So fast they can't see it coming? So fast they'll still be there when you see them come out and then you shoot at them? Maybe you could find a way to shoot bursts that would spread out?

Anyway, say they find out what it is and it's real real valuable. They could perhaps offer a share of it to anybody who joins them. One pirate plus Bert and Erny means 1/3 of a giant fortune, free and clear and no crime to cover up. Two pirates plus Bert and Erny means 1/4. If there are 5 pirates now and they start thinking about who to kill to reduce the shares, they might get so busy killing each other that Bert and Erny have some other chance.

Say they find out what it is and it's only mildly profitable. Tell the pirates that and let them think about how much murder they're willing to do for a little money.

They don't have to tell the truth, they could say it's a jackpot when it isn't or vice versa. But depending on what they actually have the truth could serve as well as a lie.

J Thomas on July 23, 2010, 09:36:12 am
Jumping in the mass driver looks real real dangerous. Here's a start at a reckless solution for the last problem, slowing down, assuming everything else worked.

If they have a very long, very strong rope, find a way to attach it to something on the target. And have something disposable -- a couple of metal bars etc -- to serve as a rappel rack. Get close to Dactyl and somehow attach the rope -- lasso some landmark or whatever. Then pay out the rope across the bars, letting friction slowly reduce the speed. With luck no single spot on the rope will get hot enough to melt through. When you're slowed down enough, then climb down the rope.

This requires very good aim with the mass driver and also two items that have not been stressed as being available, the long length of strong rope and the gizmo that lets you somehow attach to Dactyl. But it's a start.

How not to be killed leaving via the mass driver -- put a big rock in the mass driver. Attach two ropes to it, and both guys stand beside the mass driver with their rappel gear. the rock moves fast, the men move slower. With luck they'll be up to speed before they reach the ends of the rope. One of them has a rock that makes them both mass the same, to simplify the calculations.

This is something you'd want to practice 50 or 60 times with crash dummies and telemetry before you tried it yourself.

 

anything