Saturday, April 5, 2008

Tractor Beams

A lot of hardcore science fiction guys really hate tractor beams, 'cause they're supposed to be super bad fake science or something.

Even though they don't seem that bad to me, as far as making up voodoo to explain how they work, with energy and matter being the same thing, and "gravity" being a bend in the fabric of spacetime produced by large amounts of energy/matter.

I mean, tractor beams seem like they're at least a little less stupid than some kind of artificial gravity plane generator on a spaceship that works Star Trek style, like a boat in space.

Well, they seem like the same kind of stupid, actually, but a simple high gravity beam shape is easier to imagine dealing with than a system that can produce and maintain some kind of gravity field in the shape of a plane floating under a boat-like spaceship.

Anyways, I like tractor beams.

And artificial gravity on boat-like spaceships too.

But its kinda weird how they never get into all the stuff you could really do with technology like that, y'know?

Like, they never have tractor beams inside the cargo bay, moving everything around.

And people still have to use elevators and worry about falling over railings and being crushed under heavy things in Star Trek, even though they'd all be able to fly around and dance on the ceiling with magnetic toe boots or personal tractor beam belt buckles something if they just turned the gravity off.

Yah, I want a personal tractor beam belt buckle or a room decked out with personal tractor beams so I can like, get beers from the replicator without having to get up off the couch heh.

"Computer! Captain needs a refill!" *wiggles glass over head*

And you could use that kinda crap to keep things from getting boring on long space flights, y'know, like, if you switched which direction the gravity plane is coming from every day, or made it into some even weirder shape than a flat plane.

"Its upside down day!"

And they never use tractor beams for fighting, either.

Seems like it'd be pretty easy to lock a guy up with tractor beams, well, as long as you were bigger than him, or the beams were attached to something heavy heh.

Tractor beam grenades would be super annoying, latching on to the closest guy and dragging themselves through the dirt toward him ahaha.

And if you do the old "reverse polarity" gag on 'em (I think all tractor beams come equipped with that setting ahaha), you got a belt buckle that can push grenades and dudes with swords away from you and throw 'em around.

Well, as long as you are bigger than whatever it is that yer trying to toss around, I think if yer smaller than whatever you've latched on to, then its you that gets tossed all over the goddam place, because THIS IS SCIENCE AND NOT MAGIC AND YOU ALWAYS GOTTA DO STUFF LIKE THAT TO MAKE IT SEEM REALER heh.

Even though anything that could produce artificial mass/gravity/telekinesis/whatever would be able to sorta "anchor" you, too, either to the ground or to another invisible (but not magickal goddammit! ahaha) and artificially produced mass or something.

Bunch of guys wanna kick your ass, you should just have your ship make a gravity plane with like ten times earth gravity underneath 'em to knock all their asses out, 'cause that's the same as pilots trying to do high G turns and stuff.

Or velcro yourself to something and just turn the artificial gravity on and off over and over again until all the bad guys on your boat are beat to shit and glued to the ceiling or something.

Being able to reconfigure artificial gravity on a ship can turn that long hallway that leads to your pilot chair into an elevator shaft you can send all the bad guys tumbling up and down over and over again to suit ones taste heh.

And in ship to ship combat, you could always produce another artificial gravity field at weird angles to their own artificial gravity field, or aligned with their gravity field in order to increase the gravity produced, y'know, so everything in the ship would slosh all around as you created artificial gravity slopes to the front and left and right and back.

Yah sure, once you add junk like this, then there's all sorts of ways you compensate for it and create countermeasures against it too, your ship might detect all that crap and automatically produce another field that cancels out whatever they're trying to do to you or something like that.

And you could probably use a tractor beam to cancel out somebody else's tractor beam, too.

And you would probably have beer glasses that could tractor beam themselves to your dashboard and tractor beam their liquid contents to prevent spillage during intense combat situations heh.

I guess gravity combat stuff like that would eventually boil down to whichever ship was capable of producing the most powerful gravity fields, and as long as you were pretty evenly matched, it wouldn't be that big of a deal, but gravity fights run the spectrum from mild extra-gravity annoyance to knocking everyone unconscious to crushing your ship down into a singularity.

Anyways its kinda funny that they never do any cool stuff with it.

Y'know, 'cause Tractor Beams and Artificial Gravity has a bad rep, as something produced not on purpose, but by the necessity of filming scifi television shit really cheap in the 60s or something, I guess heh.

Even though its really no more lame than any of the other things we've turned into realities over the years imho ahaha.

And nowadays with computer graphics, you can do all sorts of fun and cheap Three Stooges crap with it, though, y'know?

And you coulda always done stuff like that if you were just writing scifi stories, or playing a scifi rpg or something.

Makes boarding a hostile ship as a space pirate way the hell more risky, you'd need to be ready for what amounts to some pretty crazy telekinetic flypaper traps and mountain climbing type shit, you'd have to be all quick as hell with your Batman Utility Belt and stuff heh.

Or you'd need to blow out whatever systems keep their artificial gravity running before you boarded, and deal with 'em all in Zero G, or by whatever your own ship could produce for them for gravity, but even if you killed all the power on a ship (which would probably take a lot less technology than producing an artificial gravity plane and tractor beams heh) you'd still have to deal with "personal" tractor beams and tractor beams inside the ship that may be able to run on backup power or something.

See, that's what Science Fiction shit is supposed to be all about, a bunch of magical traps and super powers and weapons and toys that make just enough sense that you can apply the Scientific Method to 'em and argue with your friends about how they'd work in different situations during a diamond robbery and have somebody be "right" in the end heh.

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