Track of the Apocalypse Ch9 Ficbit – Untested

Out of the corner of his eye, Jack caught Daniel’s eyes go wide. As if the linguist had finally put something together, and it was both awesome and the kind of thing that would make poor innocent colonels tear their hair out.

“But that doesn’t make sense,” Sam objected. “Why would someone give you a design for enhanced bullets and not test the range?”

“Sam,” Daniel tried. Not quite loud enough.

“Wait, at Yashiro Station?” Sam went on, focused on Keisuke.


“If you had the design, why didn’t you use them at Aragane?”

Silence. Keisuke’s face was carefully blank.

That is “I gave something away and didn’t mean to” blank, Jack decided. Oh boy.

Daniel took a deep breath, and squared his shoulders. “Because they didn’t have the design at Aragane.”

Erk. Halt. Reboot. What?

Daniel shrugged, giving Keisuke and the rest of the townsfolk a sheepish smile. “You covered it well, you really did. But – I know Jack. He’s careful about weapons. Kurusu and Kibito know their jobs. They’d be just as careful. So the only reason they’d arm people with bullets no one had tested yet would be – well, no one tested them yet. You invented them here.” He glanced at Jack. “You did say the piercing gun could be a prototype.”

“Yeah,” Jack got out, feeling like he’d been gut-punched. Sam was almost pale, and even Teal’c looked unsettled. Which, yeah, of freaking course. “You… tested them at Yashiro… you’ve had jet bullets for two weeks?

“And a few days,” Keisuke said dryly.


21 thoughts on “Track of the Apocalypse Ch9 Ficbit – Untested

  1. And then we get thirty pages of horror stories about the American procurement system. 🙂

    Okay, yeah even my bunnies don’t think that would be very smart, even for my own mess of a WIP. (And I’ve just realized that ‘Deep Space Radar Telemetry’ fits my ‘so far’ process for naming chapters, except for not being lyrics in a song or poem. Sleep is good.)

    Thanks. I appreciate all these posts, even if I have not had much sense to say so recently.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. When your only method of killing them is suffocation/drowing/etc, and you can’t get in close… Have fun with that yeah.

      If there had been more time to tailor the defenses for the kabane I could see more effort with stuff like moats (with raising/lowering bridges) to allow smaller settlements to survive without heavy fortifications, but by the time people started realising that was possible they would have basically been pushed back to the stations already (and trying to set up a new defended settlement is far more effort compared to protecting an already existing one).

      Liked by 4 people

  2. There is procurement and procurement. If you just happen to think of some process improvement that can be done with existing trash, trades, or midnight requisitioning (like improvised armor for your truck), the procurement system doesn’t have to get involved. If you can buy it off the shelf and just give it out as an optional add-on or personal equipment, same thing.But

    I was just watching a documentary about the first submarine guided missiles, Regulus. They got them out quick because the same company that made Corsairs got the contract, and they just made a bomb-carrying plane with a guidance system instead of a cockpit. All the parts were standard airplane parts. They still had to test it and launch it and such, but otherwise they were done pretty quickly.

    The river patrol boats for the Vietnam War famously went from Navy request to production in six days, because they just took a civilian family boat, made the plastic hull bigger and tougher, and put in Jacuzzi boat jet propulsion systems. (The downside was that the steering stunk unless you were going really fast, as you can see in the special, The Grand Tour: Seamen.)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Man, part of my job is ordering, and it’s kind of terrifying about how procurement gets when it’s big enough. I once had to break down for someone why “only two boxes per store” of something required a six month lead time

    That said, yeah, the show is working on a far different scale, which is bad in it’s own way, given how the artisan system tends to break down under high stress, but it’s working for now and that’s what counts.

    *blinks* Which makes the steamsmith/bushi divide make far more sense, actually. Knowledge and skill are very, very valuable when there’s no guarantee of replacement.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That’s what she’s complaining about.

      “You invented a new bullet, with critical performance improvements, and I missed it!?”

      Or alternatively:

      “Finally, someone actually fixed their own problem and didn’t demand an astrophysicist learn a completely unrelated field and discover a new application in less than a week!”

      Jack starts whistling innocently.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. Thing is, that means that game changing tech experts are stuck out vulnerable in the middle of nowhere, which has unsettling security implications for the fate of, what was this planet again?

      OOC, we know SG1 will come out of this alive, without destroying Earth. IC, they have to consider the possibility that this is the one that punches their ticket.

      As for other things, my mind is aflutter with possibilities.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Heh. After the BSoD, Jack is going to ask for two of the jet bullets to take with him, for bringing back to Earth. First, because if red tape can be bypassed, and it can be reverse engineered, a safe supply source could be established. And, of course, it could well be very useful for the Stargate program’s issues.

    Why two? Because Jack is genre savvy enough to know that if he asked for one, it would inevitably need to be used for *something* vital before they get to go home.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. I once read that in WW2, things like planes, tanks, and boats could be designed and prototyped within weeks-to-months, as opposed to the current situation where military R&D is treated as the dole for various companies, to be dragged out over decades when possible.

    No surprise that the locals are doing R&D on ‘war for survival’ timescales, when they can.

    On the other hand, I’d like Sam to look at the jet bullets. She might be able to suggest some tweaks for optimizing them, or perhaps come up with a variant that works at longer range for (insert tradeoffs here).


    Liked by 1 person

    1. There’s several reasons for this, not all of which are about “because they do stuff differently now” or “because bureaucratic/governmental inefficiency”.

      If we’re just going for “throw something together that is vaguely in the right ballpark” (and throw similar levels of resources at it), we can actually do it faster now than they could in WWII simply because of all the new tech that makes it easier (CAD/CAM that can write the cnc programs for you, 3D printing and other rapid prototyping tech to get parts faster, etc). But this only works for things that _can_ be done roughly.

      For comparison, a lot of modern developments are “incremental improvement” type developments, where it simply requires increasingly larger expenditures of time/effort/etc for increasingly smaller improvement. Computer chip design, for example, or some of the design improvements to cars/planes/etc, or drugs, all are cases where the low-hanging fruit has already been taken, and further advances require either getting lucky or brute forcing it by computation or by trial and error, with each advance taking increasingly more effort expended (and being increasingly unlikely to be discovered).

      Those incremental developments were mostly _not_ done “in weeks to months” during WWII, except the ones that were simply used so much that we brute-forced the research (a million men using X type of gun with their lives depending on it, gives lots of feedback on the problems with that gun). Back then, most of the work was thrown into “let’s try to scatter-shot research for as much low-hanging fruit as we can get, even if it’s got flaws”. And even there, a lot of those “weeks to months” developments were, if you actually look at what was involved, stuff that had been on the back burner for years or decades, gathering the research needed to make it feasible, and it was only the final “put it together” stage that went fast.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. We also had a fair amount of corruption in procurement under FDR. Part of the slow down/dysfunction of the current system is measures to prevent/limit corruption in procurement.

      If you compare development time, fighter to fighter, you need to keep in mind that aerospace engineering was much younger in WWII, and a couple of the features of it maturing would tend to slow things down. First off, aerospace engineering is critically limited by the level of understanding of fluid mechanics, and the tools available for solving and measuring fluid mechanical situations. Change number one is faster fighter designs. CFD and analytical fluid dynamics still needs support by experimental fluid dynamics in aerospace design. Faster top speed means a wider range of more expensive experiments. So even though modern CFD is amazing, and paying dividends for Aerospace design, a competitive fighter design is probably still a lot more expensive. Change number two, during the Cold War, NASA and the Air Force discovered that a lot of their projects were too complex for the older style of management, so they developed Systems Engineering. Which is overkill and probably bullshit for the sorts of projects an individual can do, so its merits or demerits get difficult to argue.

      I don’t consider the status quo perfection. But not all the difference is for the worse.

      I have a great deal of respect for the scientists and engineers of WWII. Part of the lack of replacement for such as the B-52 was that the early Cold War designers got a lot of experience during WWII, sending a load of models to production and trial by fire. So those design teams were able to do great things with that experience when they had more leisure to do the job right the first time. Furthermore, the Los Alamos Primer is a magnificent document.

      Liked by 1 person

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