Track of the Apocalypse Ch4 Ficbit – Lunch

Jack grimaced. “We don’t know it’s an ongoing disaster.”

“We do not,” Teal’c agreed. “They have said the Kabane sleep. We do not know for how long. But their use of words is ominous. Stations are not attacked, O’Neill. They are swallowed.”

Put that together with two, maybe three groups of refugees – heck, maybe more, they’d have to ask – and the overall picture was just looking worse and worse. “Train’s armored, stations are probably fortified,” Jack stated. “If this mess has been going on twenty years? A hayajiro’s probably the only guaranteed way to get from point A to point B without being munched. Only they get jumped, too. And three groups of refugees on one train….”

Daniel sucked in a breath. “You think something went wrong. Recently.”

“I think we’d better be very careful who we tell we’re not from ‘round here,” Jack said practically. “Because when things go wrong, people look for someone to blame. Anyone to blame.” He tapped his fingers together. “But we’ve got to tell somebody, so… we talk to Kurusu. And his Lady Ayame.”

“But not Dogen?” Sam gave him a curious look. “You did say he’s likely a VIP, sir. And no offense to our hosts, but based on the numbers of Kabane we saw we’ll probably need an organized expedition to go back to Keishi. With official military forces. And explosives.”

“Could well be,” Jack agreed. “But. Carter. Dogen’s trying to keep a lid on guys like Naokata. Think about trying to tell him we’re from another planet.”

“…See what you mean, sir.” Sam shrugged. “Kurusu’s bushi looked at Teal’c and barely flinched. If we told him we’re aliens – he might think we’re crazy, but he won’t want us dead for it.”

“Not being dead is one of the mission goals,” Jack started.

And stopped, because there was a scent of heaven wafting through the air. Fish, some kind of starchy-sweet that had to be a root vegetable, and who knew what for spices but they smelled nicely tangy.

27 thoughts on “Track of the Apocalypse Ch4 Ficbit – Lunch

    1. Likewise, never underestimate what people will do in vengeance for stolen or tainted food. From experience (having had my food stolen from the employee fridge), it will not go well for the perpetrator if they get caught. I had all sorts of vengeful plots to try, and if it ever happened again? I probably would have used one.

      Of course, it wouldn’t have been so bad if they just ate it- can’t blame them for being hungry, though it’d still piss me off. No, they sampled a bite of every food in the box, found it wasn’t to their liking, and pitched the entire damn container in the trash. I was fit to kill, to say the least.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Huh. I do my best to respect the boundary of other peoples’ food simply as a curb on my weakness to the sin of gluttony, but I hadn’t ever considered that aspect of going a-Viking on the fridge.


        Liked by 4 people

  1. Had started to wonder how much Ikoma’s upset with the soup is because of regressed digestive system and how much of it was biocontrol. You’ve already said that Machello failed to properly give Kabane their target, but are non human protein specifically targeted to be rejected when ingested. Or are the kabaneri capable of eating only substances that can be carried in blood directly. Because both is possible, but clear soup might be okay in the second scenario. Hunters’ doctors must have tried animal blood on their earlier kabaneri, whatever the results were.

    Bullet proof glass for the hayajiro?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. The Kabaneri problem with solid food is a little more complicated than regressed digestion, but it has nothing to do with biocontrol. I have a headcanon for just how Kabane get the energy to keep moving, and it’d wreak heck with regular food intake.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hmm. Spooky glow. Strange internal nuclear reactor thingy. Or…

        Are the glowing veins of metal hollow, and act as actual veins? Maybe some weird micro-plant or algae runs through them, some of those glow… plants tend to love sugars, but fats are far too complicated to break down properly, I think. Fats are still needed, because human, but I think they might already be broken down enough to be bio-available in blood? And iron. If it’s living, it probably needs a good amount of iron. Strange chemical reaction between micro-plant byproduct and iron?

        Definitely would need more iron than usual, if it’s being used up in a chemical reaction. Or in anysort of natural reactor, honestly.

        …I’d honestly be shocked if any of them were right, but can be fun to guess.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. The hayajiro are powered by shenanigans. The Kabane need shenanigans to get the iron for their skeletons.

        My guess is that these shenanigans are fundamentally the same, as well as the food problem. The only real question is, did Machello introduce the shenanigans, or merely discover and tinker with them?


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  2. “With official military forces.”
    They are so naive… Ow, when they find out, there is no official military force. Hell, official military force is on the Hayajiro with them… Bushi are about “official military” as it gets on Hinomoto.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Bullet proof glass for the hayajiro?

    Not as effective as you might think.

    The nature of its construction – by layering sheets of rigid glass and softer plastic – merely allows the material to flex slightly when it’s struck, instead of outright shattering. It’s not actually “bulletPROOF”, so much as “bullet-RESISTANT”.

    Against blows heavy enough to pierce armor plate? I’m not liking the chances, here.

    Looking it up, it seems like the current top three choices for transparent armor are:

    • Aluminum oxynitride, a.k.a. ALON glass (a.k.a. “transparent aluminum” *rolls eyes*)
    • Single-crystal synthetic sapphire (a.k.a. “sapphire glass”)
    • Magnesium aluminate spinel

    Of the three, and after a brief bit of research, I’d personally go with the ALON glass.

    Sapphire glass would technically have a better performance, however it’s also hideously more expensive and resource-intensive to make. Whereas ALON can be manufactured via conventional ceramics-making processes – meaning it might actually be possible for a dedicated (read: focusing on the manufacture of hayajiro parts; Aragane can’t possibly have been the only one in Hinomoto) station on Tenka to create it themselves – while still being definitely proven to block even up to .50cal BMG armor-piercing rounds.

    While I probably wouldn’t want to pit that against the .50-cal’s big brother, the friggin’ HEAT round that is the jet bullet, against “mere” Kabane fists, however? Definitely would not make it easy for them to break through.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Also note: that .50 AP rating I mentioned? Was for a 1.6″ (41 mm)-thick plate.

        What about thicker, like 6″? Or even a foot?

        (Suddenly, my older idea about the Kotetsujou gaining a “vegetable car” becomes a lot less of a pipe dream…)

        Liked by 2 people

    1. One more option for “bulletproof glass” (tho not an option for Hi no Moto) is that theoretically all pure metals have a glass allotropic form… it’s just that even we find that to be more of a case of unobtainium. Last time I heard about it being actively worked on, they’d just discovered that they could actually manage to make small amounts in micro-gravity*, but even then it wasn’t easy. Anyway, that potentially allows significantly better results, but takes a better tech level than we have to reliably make it, so I’m only bringing it up for “interesting data” not for an actually practical suggestion for this fic.

      *The primary difficulty is that any little disturbance during cooling of the metal will cause crystallization to start, including eddies caused by the uneven pull of gravity on the different density (due to heat/expansion) portions of the molten metal during the cooling process. So the metal needs cooled fast enough to not have time for that, and be stabilized against crystallization, for it to even possibly work. Once it’s cooled, tho, and is in its glass allotropic form, then it’s safe.

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      1. How flat does the microgravity need to be? Earth orbit, interplanetary orbit, Oort Cloud interplanetary, or true interstellar?

        Also, are there other known interesting properties of allotropic metals? The more reasons I have to send barely-into-space protagonists out beyond Pluto, the faster I can have them discover that interstellar space isn’t all that flat, because it’s not being spin-stabilized by a massive spinning body like Sol.


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      2. The key point is that, like with water that is colder than freezing temperature but hasn’t actually frozen, any little disturbance may be the key that starts the crystallization. This is currently being used mainly for mono-crystal metal (like for modern turbine blades), or for purposely designing the metal to change its crystal structure after it is cool, but theoretically it can be made to not crystallize if it’s in a stable form (glass, or “a solid liquid”). The last experiments I heard about were actually performed on the Vomit Comet, with the intent to later perform them on the space station, and they actually had some minor successes… but inconsistently (just enough to confirm their guess that gravity was “stirring” the cooling metal just enough to be another factor in it crystallizing). But I didn’t hear of any later experiments in space (probably because they were still having trouble with several of the other factors, such as making the actual cooling uniform).

        Anyway, this is just from memory, because I’m not finding the articles with a quick search any more. (maybe partly because the term “allotrope” seems to have fallen out of common use?)

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      3. Look up glassy metals, maybe. Fifteen twenty years ago, they’d figured out cooling exotic alloys enough to make them. IIRC. I was talking to some baseball nuts/mechanical engineering students who were interested in the application to baseball bats. I think they found some commercially available bats using the technology.

        The way an aircraft generates microgravity is probably inconsistent enough that you would get inconsistent results.

        Amorphous conventional alloys would be pretty interesting. I’d probably need to be a metals crystal growth guy to run calculations about how plausible it would make UC Gundam’s Luna Titanium.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Yeah. And while I’m a machinist and blacksmith by training, I was only mediocre on metallurgy, other than learning “this exotic stuff exists”. And searching for this specific category of stuff is made harder by things like ALON being what the search engines find when you look for “metal glass” or similar things, and very few places use the term “allotropic” which would have made it easier to differentiate between “this is the metal in this form” and “this is something different that just is called that.” Still, I didn’t know of its use for baseball bats (tho I wonder if that’s actually a glass allotropic form of the metal, or if it’s a mono-crystal structure, which is the much easier alternative), so thanks for that bit.

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      5. Different technique (it’s going for slow cooling, while what I heard about was trying for flash cooling, tho for similar reason), but same goal, so basically yes. I’d not thought of using the term “amorphous solid” instead of “glass” when searching, and I note the absence of the term “allotropic” (which had hindered my previous searches), but the described results are basically what I remember. The only significant difference was that the specific one I remember was transparent, when they could get it to work at all, but that’s likely just a result of the particular metal used (every material is theoretically transparent to some wavelengths of light, even if it’s usually ones invisible to the human eye). Thanks for finding that, I’d gotten stuck on terminology, and thus missed the necessary search terms.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. You don’t need a huge pane for hayajiro purposes either, a lattice of 8×8 inches on a strong enough frame and it doesn’t matter if they manage to break one or two during a fight. In an closed greenhouse it’s the available carbon dioxide that is the bottleneck, which a train full of passengers is uniquely equipped to handle.

      Liked by 2 people

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