Friday, 23 December 2016

Vehicles: Cunegl Moon Hopper

A wide a variety of vehicles have been called “moon hoppers”. The name is perhaps most apt for the Rieter Cunegl.

The cunegl is based on the observation that the hopping of a kangaroo is a very efficient means of locomotion. When hopping at speed the kangaroo’s body works somewhat like a pogo stick. As it lands its energy is stored in the tendons of the legs. This stored energy is utilized to make the next hop. Using this system the kangaroo can hop at speed for considerable periods of time for very little energy expenditure.
The passenger model cunegl resembles a chair mounted on two mechanical legs. Each leg has three sections and ends in a pad that is designed not to sink into loose moondust. Each foot also has retractable claws for better purchase on rocky terrain.
Mounted on a pillar above the chair is an array of four thrust nozzles, arranged to point outward and downward. Thrust from the two rear nozzles assist the vehicle when it begins hopping. Thrust from the forward nozzles brakes the vehicle, even when it is not in contact with the ground. Firing the nozzles in various combinations can alter the trajectory of the vehicle during a leap.
Hopping behaviour is controlled by the vehicle’s computer. The driver merely has to determine course and speed. A lidar array scans each potential landing spot and configures the legs for the optimum configuration for either landing or another bound.
In the low gravity and airless environment of the lunar surface each bound of a cunegl can take it scores of metres at a time. These highly efficient vehicles can travel hundreds of miles across difficult lunar terrain on a single charge. The vehicle’s modest energy needs are easily met by a small solar panel.
Prospectors favour these vehicles since each hop takes them dozens of metres about the surface, giving an good view of surrounding terrain. In addition to the manned vehicle the same locomotive system is used on a variety of cybershells.
A wide variety of alternate names for the moon hopper may be encountered. These include “moon bunny”, “moon-roo”, “bounder” and “boomer”.

Thursday, 22 December 2016

8mm Flechette Rifle

The 8mm flechette rifle is a weapon that is usually encountered in the hands of security guards. Users favour the weapon for its flat trajectory, high hit probability, low recoil and effects on unarmoured and soft-armoured targets. Its limited range and poor performance against hard armoured targets have precluded it from military adoption. Their minimal effects against hard armour can be exploited if friendly forces are armoured and the enemy is not. American insurgents and some criminals have also made use of stolen weapons.
The 8mm diameter polymer cartridge is straight-walled other than a slight bottlenecking at the end used to headspace the cartridge. Each cartridge contains a sabot that holds five 1.5mm steel flechettes. The light weight of the flechettes gives them a muzzle velocity in excess of 1,100 yards/ sec. At short ranges penetration is high and trajectory is effectively flat. At longer ranges the projectiles rapidly lose velocity and will be affected by cross winds.
Although they are commonly referred to as “flechette rifles” the weapons that use the 8mm round are usually of SMG configuration. Barrels are effectively smooth-bore, having a slow, shallow twist to aid sabot separation and flechette dispersion. The 8mm round is well suited to a simple blowback mechanism. The simplicity and low cost of such weapons is another feature that recommends them to security forces. Typically a reflex sight (+1 to Guns skill) is fitted.

Guns (SMG) (DX-4, or most other Guns at -2)
8mm Flechette Rifle
2d+1(2) pi-
12 x 5
Real world note: Relievable information on the terminal effects of flechettes has been hard to come by.
The original claim of the SPIW project was that flechettes that hit denser materials such as flesh would bend, dumping all of their residual energy into the target.
Another source claims that the tail of the flechette tends to stabilize the projectile in flesh too so flechettes are not prone to tumbling, giving poor energy transfer. Evidence for bent flechettes, it claims, is from wounds inflicted by multiple flechette rounds fired from recoilless rifles, tank guns and artillery. Flechettes were bent by the stresses of firing, not impact, it is claimed.
During the ACR rifle trials it was claimed that the flechettes used by two entrants “fishhooked” reliably.
Terminal effects are more about damage than just energy dump. Even if the flechettes do bend and tumble the real question is the rate, depth and damage that occurs as they do so.



The attrapeur is a robot used by a number of police and security forces. It was first used with great success in the Paris student riots four years ago. An attrapeur has four multi-sectioned legs of about a metre length which join onto a compact, flat body of less than a third of a metre long. An attrapeur flipped on its “back” will simply pivot its limbs until they are under it again. The narrowness of its limbs and body make it a difficult target to hit with gunfire. Its appearance and movements are disturbing to severe arachnophobes.
When not in use the attrapeur folds itself up into a compact volume. Even vehicles with relatively limited cargo space can carry a number of attrapeurs.
The attrapeur can run at great speed. An attacking attrapeur will run to a target and seize them around the thighs with its forward limbs. Its body will then flip upwards and the rear limbs will wrap around the target’s arms and torso. This usually immobilizes the target. The attrapeur broadcasts its location to the command centre. A flashing LED and audible beacon is also activated to assist officers locating the attrapeur and its prisoner.
In many English speaking countries the attrapeur has gained the alternate name of “wrapper”.