Track of the Apocalypse Ch10 Ficbit – Rooftops

The fact that a steamsmith like Sukari knew exactly what made good unofficial handholds to get up onto the first car roof, Jack thought, was either unnerving evidence of how well steamsmiths knew the Koutetsujou, or depressing proof of how stir-crazy people were getting after being stuck three weeks on the same armored train. Possibly both.

Definitely both, Jack concluded, spotting the shimmer of purple silk, a handmaid’s more modest blue, and a steamsmith’s jacket on top of the locomotive ahead. He restrained the urge to wave at the pretty girls. Because there was more green up there than just Kajika’s jacket; green streaked with white, and for an engineer Ikoma was doing a damn fine job standing in the way of any possible shot at Ayame.

Daniel thumped down on the roof beside him, trying to fold his legs into a reasonably comfortable seat on sun-warmed steel. “They’re watching us.”

“I’d watch us too,” Jack admitted. “They just unloaded extremely sensitive, need-to-know info on people they only met two days ago. They’re not over here listening, they’re being polite… but Ayame’s got to be wondering what we’re going to do with it.”

Sam tucked a jacket under herself to sit down, cushioning herself against hot metal. Darn, Jack wished he’d thought of that first. “Sir, is it my imagination, or…?”

Teal’c sat stable as if they were on solid ground, not a swaying roof. “It is not, Major Carter. The three about Lady Ayame ensure that we would not have a clear shot.”

“We aren’t planning on shooting them.” Daniel swallowed, and looked at Jack dead on. “Are we?”

“No,” Jack said firmly. Because if Daniel was wondering about shooting people, his team was well and truly rattled. And who wouldn’t be. “We need these guys if we’re going to stay alive on this planet. And we have to stay alive, and get back to Keishi, because otherwise some idiot back in the Pentagon is going to wonder if we really meant zombie apocalypse. And want to check. And then everything goes to hell.”

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35 thoughts on “Track of the Apocalypse Ch10 Ficbit – Rooftops

  1. Okay, I thought you had a long term plan of getting SG1 back through the gate.

    But that was less in story confirmation, and more intuition. Now we have confirmation of SG1’s intent.

    I haven’t been commenting much here, but I have been reading. (Have been worse at words, and pressed for time.)

    Thank you.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. This story pretty much fits in where the Star Gate Episode “100 Days” takes place, where Jack get marooned on a low-tech/pastoral world (iirc), and has to face the possibility that he’s stuck there, long term. Months, years, the rest of his life.

      Here it’s all of SG-1, but they’re stuck with the Kotetsujo after being cut off from the Star Gate because of the Kabane hazard. They can get back, but not without support for security/transportation and a guide for navigation.

      Before they can think about attempting to return, they need to secure a base of operations, which means actively working/cooperating to secure Kotetsujo’s operations.

      First priority seems obvious, reach Shitori Station (hopefully) before the Kongokaku situation blows up. I figure a 3-4 day lay-over, to get the Kongokaku off the Hayajiro, touch base with the Lord of Shitori, perform some likely quite necessary depot-level maintenance (at least some inspections) on the Hayajiro in prep for the next leg, get some supplies in trade for the salvage, and last but definitely not least, hopefully get those of Kotetsujo some downtime. Got to give everyone a chance to stretch their legs, and get some real rest without the pressure of “constant vigilance” in the back of their minds.

      Longer than 4 days is probably not in the cards, lest Kongokaku refugees stir up trouble over Kotetsujo’s role in the fall of Kongokaku, rumors of “taint” for having been to Keishi, SG-1 or the Kabaneri attracting too much attention, or those of Kotetsujo’s cleverness/competence encouraging some “headhunting”. So from there, I’d figure heading to the next Station, to spread the news of Kongokaku, get some idea of the condition the Station/Hayajiro network, etc.

      This story probably won’t have Aragane being retaken, but maybe there will be some kind of Depot Fortress where the preparations for the return to Keishi can be made.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Hopefully Stargate Command is sufficiently on top of things to do initial recon with well-armed drones, since they can get 2-way radio through the Stargate. Well-armed because they’ll need to be testing exactly how much gun one needs to put down the local zeds.

    A 30-millimeter autocanon off an A-10 is probably enough gun, but more than a little expensive.

    -Albert

    Liked by 2 people

      1. “General Hammond, Sir?”
        “Yes, Sergeant Siler? What’s the problem?”
        “We need to replace the ‘redial’ button on the Gate.”
        “AGAIN?”

        Liked by 2 people

  3. 30 mil is definitely too much gun for normal Kabane. 7.62 am jacketed/AP will probably suffice (M16, etc). .45s for small arms will probably do the trick, with the right ammo, as well as combat shotguns… HE rounds ought to blow the bodies apart, at least, though anything capable of moving could still be dangerous…

    The biggest problem the natives of (forgot the planet darn it) have in fighting the Kabane is the lack of widespread availability of native firearms and ammo of sufficient caliber/kinetic energy/penetration. The portable Steam guns are basically all they have as a long-arm, and are inadequate. A fixed heavy weapons /crew served heavy multi-barreled steam gun might also work, but it appears no one has the industry/resources for such things, at least it would seem to be quite restricted. Then there’s the Kotetsujou’s artillery piece.

    But we know that the Hunters, and their former incarnation as a military unit combating the Kabane, have weapons that are effective when employed in the proper tactical situation.

    A 7.62mm light machine gun with ammo appropriate for lightly armored vehicles sound like it would work. 20mm cannon, 25, Bushmaster, certainly. The Classic .50 Cal. The larger issue is having a drone capable of carrying such a weapon, how much ammo it can carry, and its flight time, or ground range for something like a MALP. Actually, I don’t know if the local Stargate actually is positioned properly to allow for UAVs, seeing as how the Shrine is built around it.

    Also, you would likely lose/destroy every drone, because you don’t want to dial an outgoing connection from that planet to Earth, lest you bring the infection through, or, heaven forbid, have Kabane manage to charge the gate. Also, also, while SGC doesn’t know this, you wouldn’t want to leave any weaponized drones undestroyed, lest a Wazatori manage to get up to some mischief.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh I was going to bring up the mini-guns that combat transport/ gunship helicopters/fixed wing craft often carry, those start at 7.62 cal I believe. Need a loooot of ammo though.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Tenka is the planet name in this AU.

      The Hunters show up with some mortars, and one scientist has a Gatling gun. Unfortunately he tries to use it against Kurusu, that didn’t work….

      Maneuvering a UAV is going to be tricky, yes. Assuming they can figure out how to get it out to the balcony, they can at least get it to recharge in the sun, but carrying anything heavy might not be plausible.

      “Also, also, while SGC doesn’t know this, you wouldn’t want to leave any weaponized drones undestroyed, lest a Wazatori manage to get up to some mischief.”

      *Whistles innocently*

      Liked by 2 people

      1. What do you mean, “innocently”?! I do not believe you. At all. *pops popcorn* Now, I’m not COMPLAINING, mind you, just not believing you innocent act.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. It’s the same instinct that fills D&D players with dread when the DM says out of nowhere “Everyone roll Spot checks” or makes a point of asking what the night’s watch rotation is. ^_^

        Liked by 1 person

  4. We definitely have guns that can Kill Kabane; it’s not really the core of the problem Stargate command has to deal with for fighting them however.
    Ironically the thing that is the biggest bottleneck in regards to trying to fight the Kabane isn’t actually arms, even though many of the better solutions we have are difficult to transport through star gates in the numbers needed.

    It’s people.

    Specifically, it’s people who can do what you need to do even with a gun that /can/ do it.

    Hitting a heart sized moving target in combat /even when it’s marked/ is /hard/. We do not currently train people to even try.

    Center of mass, body shots and double taps is what we teach. Enough damage to discourage a living person from fighting, which…

    Unless you are very lucky will /not/ discourage a Kabane. So for most of the man portable loads mentioned above….well. The bullet can do the job. The Soldier is going to have to get lucky.

    For the average soldiers combat accuracy you’re going to want ap/explosive rounds in the higher caliburs – something that is just gong to obliterate enough of the body core that the heart gets damaged anyway – or else something that just destroys the whole structure such as 20mm autocannon rounds, or perhaps a modern autoshotgun filled with high explosive grenades..and while we do /have/ such things, we don’t produce the shotgun grenades in the quantities needed here, and 20mm is usually an /anti aircraft/ round.

    (re: 20mm; it’s not that this round can ‘penetrate the heart cage’ – I mean, it can – it’s that most things that use this round are autocannons and will reduce the kabane and three of his friends to a fine paste in the process of drilling a hole you could squeeze through through the stone wall behind them. the guns that do this are not even /Kabanerei/ portable, however, much less man portable; A 20mm Sniper cannon does exist, but sniping is not combat – you /must/ have distance and this is very commonly something you won’t have – so it’d be usefull, but not a solution)

    Ironically the superhuman accuracy Kabanerei exhibit to the extent that a properly trained one /can/ do repeated heart shots in combat consistently is probably their most effective trait – and it’s one of the most strange ones, given the Kabane’s /lack/ of coordination.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I actually have a headcanon on how this works. Kabane, and Kabaneri, seem to have both an enhanced sense of smell, and very motion-sensitive vision. See Mumei reading a tunnel sign at speed, Ikoma spotting facial expressions across a battlefield, and their ability to learn by mimicking motions they’ve seen only a few times. Which is also something we see from the Kabane – when they’re not directly attacking, they will often mimic something they see a person doing. Which may well be how a Wazatori learns how to use swords, and we saw the Kabane keeping the Fusujou going….

      What the Kabaneri have, that the Kabane don’t, is an intact brain and human nervous system. So they’re taking advantage of having two linked nervous systems. One of which has the brains and agility to target, the other of which locks onto motion. Such as, say, the gleam of a moving heart…. *EG*

      Liked by 1 person

      1. So Kabane have the theoretical reflexes/mobility to do stuff, but don’t have enough intelligence/awareness? Wazatori are Kabane who have gained more awareness…does that mean that the longer Kabaneri are Kabaneri, the better fighters they become? I mean, do Wazatori develop because the Kabane nervous system/brain grows more complex over time, and does that mean Ikoma and Mumei will become even more bamf over time?

        Also, daily dose of horror….the Kabane probably didn’t have much opportunity to watch the Fusujou being operated…what if the Kabane operating the train were failed Kabaneri? What if one got bit, and oh, idk, they didn’t have their suicide charges, or the charges failed to go off, so someone panicked tried strangling the bitten engineer? Not enough to keep them from going Kabane, but just enough to give them a bit of extra intelligence? Juuuust a thought.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Reflexes, yes. Mobility… not so much, at least not early in their existence. My headcanon is that the bite going numb and the apparent destruction of brain/personality means there’s neurotoxins involved, so a freshly turned Kabane has pretty much wrecked a lot of the remaining nerves in the body and (based on the canon fact at least some Kabane do learn and get more agile over time) it takes time for the Kabane’s own network to grow in.

        No, given what the Kabane in that shot are or aren’t wearing, it’s pretty much the turned crew. I also suspect Kabane that turn still alive have an advantage over those that died, nervous system wise.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. The fact that you don’t want to send people through is one reason to use drones.

      Hopefully SGC is being cautious about mapping out the space immediately surrounding the Stargate. I can imagine various ways to send stuff through so that drones can loiter in the air and get half-an-hour to kill Kabane each time the ‘Gate opens, but SGC has to figure it all out before they can work out a process to get clearance going in the city.

      -Albert

      Liked by 2 people

  5. A higher rate of fire would be a good start in my opinion, but the system of steam pressure canisters for the standard weapons won’t support that very well. One of basic issues is that neither the Hayajiro, nor the Stations, have really been designed as anti-kabane systems.

    Yes, the Hayajiro have the ram prow, armored hatches,firing slits, mechanical control linkages to activate switches, drawbridge, and presumably other infrastructure, but those are more or less “passive” measures. The Hayajiro that crashed into Aragane Station, iirc, had no sign of heavy weapons. The Hayajiro we see Kaname and co on, in the game opening, also has no visible heavy weapons. Aragane Station, or the others, iirc, was not really designed around the concepts of clear fields of fire, supporting bastions with enfilade fire, or staggered lines of defense, with fall back positions. I’m not sure we actually saw anything like weapons emplacements even for the Great Wall of Kongokaku. A Hayajiro really needs a number of close support turrets though, with heavy (multi-barreled) steam rifles, fed from high pressure steam lines, to help clear the sides, as do the Stations

    There certainly are some armed trains, but it all seems to be artillery, and again, no heavy crew served close support weapons, where black powder cannon also were made in light versions to serve primarily as anti-personnel close support… Though, that could make sense as well, if you wanted to have something that could be a “door knocker” against an uppity Stationmaster, and also keep a Hayajiro from being able to defend itself from a mass assault…

    Something along the lines of the kind of fortifications built in the run up to WWI, and after, is needed, at least something like a “Star Fort” layout. Of course, I doubt the Shogunate was interested in seeing his vassals modernize their holdings’ defenses, and once the Kabane appeared, it was pretty much too late. No excuse really for not doing so for Kongokaku and its Gateway Stations, but when you are engaged in portraying a certain ideological dogma (and paranoid about rival power bases)…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Assuming that native weapons development is going to have to suffice for the near/foreseeable future, since the SGC is hardly going to be able to organize supply airdrops through the star gate, and setting up a new firearms/munitions industry (even just to supply Aragane/Kotetsujou) will take months if not a year or more (plus requires a fixed base), something like a rapid-fire steam weapon might have to be developed.

    Well, arguably it still would take considerable time, but steam weapons are a pretty refined concept, and propellant charged cartridges, whether black powder, or some kind of smokeless propellant, is of quite limited scale, supply, and access at this point.

    Something like a mitrailleuse might be possible to kit-bash together. Unlike a gatling gun that rotates, that would require the breech to seal and unseal without fail (loading a bullet, and then forming a gas tight seal so steam doesn’t escape) the barrels of a mitrailleuse are a fixed bundle. The block that holds the rounds is switched in and out as a unit, and then the whole breech is sealed. The mechanism for tripping the valves for each barrel in sequence might be complicated, but I think the concept requires less precision machining, than a rotary multi-barreled weapon.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitrailleuse

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A “gattling” type weapon might be more effective overall, because it can “sweep” better (mitrailleuse/volley gun is bulkier), rounds are loaded and fired as the weapon rotates (loading and firing are separate operations for the mitrailleuse), but as I see it needs more development time. Might also be better to develop as a gunpowder weapon (more conventional “modern” machineguns would require better metallurgy and manufacturing I think).

      Still, the mitrailleuse is something I think a steamsmith workshop could crank out and the narrow ballistic spread of the bullets might be advantageous to take down Kabane.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Another other early repeating “heavy” weapon, the Hotchkiss revolving cannon. The interesting thing about it is, that the barrels don’t cycle in continuous rotation as the gatling did, but remain in place at the breech until fired, and then moves the next barrel into position. This means a better gas seal, and more accurate shooting.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m not a weapon expert (not even a weapon amateur, heh…) so I can’t really help any, but the more I read the comments, the more worried I get about how much time it’s gonna take SG1 to get back home. Why worried? Because I sort of feel like the goa’ulds would not wait for them to come back before getting back to plotting their next invasion… And as much as Hammond would probably want to help his best team, sending things through the gate costs a lot of money, especially since they know anything they send won’t make it back. I can see a certain senator saying that simply putting that planet in quarantine and concentrate on the goa’uld would be a less costly and more advantageous solution… (not that a quarantine would work if someone manages to open the gate from Tenka’s side, but hey, politicians!)

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Darn it, I don’t want to be “that guy” that can’t stop nattering on about a particular subject, but another real world (American) innovation came to mind that just seems so appropriate to the current and future situation our crew finds itself in.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dynamite_gun

    The Shogunate does have breech loading artillery, but its production and distribution/use would appear to have been quite restricted. So, if the chances of Aragane/Kotetsujou getting usable artillery aren’t very good, and transporting it (and ammunition) by rail might be problematic due to likely damage to the rail network, another solution must be found. There has got to be dynamite or another kind of explosive available, or else building the Hayajiro network would have been practically impossible. The steamsmiths definitely know how to generate and deal with high pressure gas, and visuals from the series show large diameter pipes in the industrial districts. The terrain tends to be quite hilly and rugged, so you often don’t have much in the way of long sightlines, and terrain will often block flat ballistic trajectories. So, the dynamite gun seems to fit the conditions quite well- low speed, high angle projectiles, where you can build simple canisters for bundles of explosives one might find in a construction depot, or a station might have at hand, for building projects. It may not be a kabane killer, but breaking up and disrupting a charging swarm would slow it down at least.

    Liked by 1 person

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