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A Nasty Surprise

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Re: A Nasty Surprise
Post by kzt   » Sat Dec 15, 2018 10:38 pm

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Castenea wrote:Depending on where in the warehouse, and how likely I thought the bomb was to detonate if moved, I would eject it from the warehouse with a nav beacon on it. Call traffic control let them know about the hazard I just launched and have them decide if EOD should look at it or just send it on a decaying orbit into the nearest star.

Assume that anyone who goes to the trouble to ship a nuclear weapon from another star system isn’t blatantly stupid. So there are a series of things that might logically make the expert system on the bomb decide that it has been found and hence it is the moment when it should go bang.

Zero gravity or vacuum would be high on my list of suspicious indicators. As would high levels of ionizing radiation, etc. So it’s probably best to not do any of those.
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Re: A Nasty Surprise
Post by MantiMerchie   » Sat Dec 15, 2018 11:51 pm

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kzt wrote:Assume that anyone who goes to the trouble to ship a nuclear weapon from another star system isn’t blatantly stupid. So there are a series of things that might logically make the expert system on the bomb decide that it has been found and hence it is the moment when it should go bang.

Zero gravity or vacuum would be high on my list of suspicious indicators. As would high levels of ionizing radiation, etc. So it’s probably best to not do any of those.


Only problem is that vacuum and zero g are common parts of the environment for any containers. They move from planet to warehouse and to ship, all in vacuum while likely floating zero g.

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Re: A Nasty Surprise
Post by kzt   » Sun Dec 16, 2018 2:06 am

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MantiMerchie wrote:Only problem is that vacuum and zero g are common parts of the environment for any containers. They move from planet to warehouse and to ship, all in vacuum while likely floating zero g.

Sure. But you already moved it into the warehouse. It knows it is the warehouse, on grav plates. That would be when I had the anti-tamper stuff switch on at a high level. It can probably read the interior data network to know exactly where it is. So if it isn't supposed to moved somewhere it's going to find a move highly suspicious.

Oh, yeah, and don't send a publicly readable signal about a bomb. That would likely be bad.
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Re: A Nasty Surprise
Post by Loren Pechtel   » Mon Dec 17, 2018 12:15 am

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MantiMerchie wrote:Silly question maybe. You're getting 4,000 cu mtr from the pair of Rhino heavy lift containers?

In universe do they know enough to figure out the physical size of the bomb used?

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Figure at least 6kt per kg (What present day big bombs can do and I strongly suspect a grav generator is smaller than the tamper that a Teller-Ulam design needs.) Off the top of my head I don't recall the yield, lets say 25mt. That gives just over 4000kg of bomb. If it were pure lithium deuteride (which is much less dense than the grav generator to trigger it) that's about 5 cubic meters. I'm sure the actual size is less if I got the yield right.

Note, also, that it was disguised as a fusion generator--in other words, a device that contains almost the same grav generator that a bomb does.
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Re: A Nasty Surprise
Post by Loren Pechtel   » Mon Dec 17, 2018 12:20 am

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runsforcelery wrote:The Honorverse uses shipping containers --- they've been referenced several time --- and containers can be offloaded and placed in designated orbital holding areas until they are inspected. Indeed, we may see a shift to a system in which transshipped goods --- as opposed to final destination goods --- are stored only on dedicated platforms with minimal human crews, which would mean that any bomb which did get through might kill hundreds, even a few thousand, but would not inflict megadeaths.


I figure that's going to be an inevitable change after the Beowulf incident. Dedicated platforms even if they still have normal human crews. Only inspected final destination cargo is allowed into habitats.

The cargo safety must have been much better than present day if freight yards were allowed inside habitats. These days we are cautious enough about train yards due to the hazardous cargoes sometimes carried.
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Re: A Nasty Surprise
Post by Loren Pechtel   » Mon Dec 17, 2018 12:23 am

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kzt wrote:
MantiMerchie wrote:Only problem is that vacuum and zero g are common parts of the environment for any containers. They move from planet to warehouse and to ship, all in vacuum while likely floating zero g.

Sure. But you already moved it into the warehouse. It knows it is the warehouse, on grav plates. That would be when I had the anti-tamper stuff switch on at a high level. It can probably read the interior data network to know exactly where it is. So if it isn't supposed to moved somewhere it's going to find a move highly suspicious.

Oh, yeah, and don't send a publicly readable signal about a bomb. That would likely be bad.


It's only an issue of the bomb can ID that it's at it's destination and then arm it's anti-tamper. It's quite possible that the bomb would get moved before reaching it's final destination, the fact that it entered atmosphere isn't enough reason to arm as it gives a reasonable chance you blow up the wrong target.
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Re: A Nasty Surprise
Post by zuluwiz   » Mon Dec 17, 2018 3:41 pm

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I guess I still haven't made my question clear. What sort of policy changes would be likely to be made if you did indeed find yourself on Mesa's List of expendable folks by way of finding one of their little 'presents' in your warehouse? This would be a very neutral and uninvolved star nation making this discovery. Mesa dislikes you enough to want to blow you up, apparently, and there is no reason that you can see for this dislike. So what happens next? Mesa itself is now under new management, and there doesn't seem to be anybody there answering these silly little questions, so what do you do about it?
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Re: A Nasty Surprise
Post by Joat42   » Mon Dec 17, 2018 6:07 pm

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zuluwiz wrote:I guess I still haven't made my question clear. What sort of policy changes would be likely to be made if you did indeed find yourself on Mesa's List of expendable folks by way of finding one of their little 'presents' in your warehouse? This would be a very neutral and uninvolved star nation making this discovery. Mesa dislikes you enough to want to blow you up, apparently, and there is no reason that you can see for this dislike. So what happens next? Mesa itself is now under new management, and there doesn't seem to be anybody there answering these silly little questions, so what do you do about it?

After what happened at Beowulf I would guess the politicians de jour would spin a tale how it couldn't happen in their system and 1 of 2 things would then happen:

- Fat contracts to friendly corporations with some nice kickbacks for increasing the security - but it's mostly just smoke and mirrors.
OR
- Increased security measures would quietly be implemented while the politicians sound like a broken record saying that there is nothing to worry about.

---
Jack of all trades and destructive tinkerer.


Anyone who have simple solutions for complex problems is a fool.
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Re: A Nasty Surprise
Post by kzt   » Mon Dec 17, 2018 8:12 pm

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The assumption that only the MA will do this is shortsighted. There are lots of people who were willing to blow up airliners with several hundred people on them to murder their mother, or to make some political point.

The reason this doesn't happen often is that it it is been shown to be very hard to pull off.
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Re: A Nasty Surprise
Post by Jonathan_S   » Wed Dec 19, 2018 6:23 pm

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Loren Pechtel wrote:I figure that's going to be an inevitable change after the Beowulf incident. Dedicated platforms even if they still have normal human crews. Only inspected final destination cargo is allowed into habitats.

The cargo safety must have been much better than present day if freight yards were allowed inside habitats. These days we are cautious enough about train yards due to the hazardous cargoes sometimes carried.
That's still going to be a massive inspection task. And IIRC the major warehouses are separate stations. The bombs were in containers listed for delivery to some company physically on each station. You can put your container port as far outside the city as you like but it doesn't help much if something dangerous is in a container that's being shipped through there to a department store in the middle of downtown. These bombs basically blew up on the equivalent of the loading docks of a store.

A station with millions of people will need a lot of daily shipments of food, clothes, electronics, appliances, ect. etc. Basically what gets shipped into a fairly major 20th century city - to the residents, to the stores, to the construction sites, etc. etc. - for its internal consumption.

Now they can do a better job of making sure the recipient was expecting the shipment before letting it be transferred to the station. If that works it'll cut out the ability for a container to linger on the loading docks. But someone could still blow up the station, they'd just have to manage to insert the container with an expected waybill and blow it right after it enters the target -- before the recipient can open it up and realize it's not actually what was supposed to be in that container.



But even doing a manual inspection of just those necessary shipments to a station of millions would be a monumental task - and that only saves you if a bomb can't be disguised well enough to be likely to evade normal inspection.
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