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Author Topic: Army Yourself - and Help Me Arm My Character  (Read 13839 times)

Raptor

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Re: Army Yourself - and Help Me Arm My Character
« Reply #25 on: April 11, 2020, 10:51:22 pm »
Plebian's idea of sabotaging the yacht - maybe at its last maintenance stop, or at the Suez Canal might be plausible.   :hmm    Perhaps a contact mine attached to the hull or rudder surfaces and designed to be triggered electronically.   :hmm    That would effectively make the yacht dead in the water and  make the crew very busy with other things while a nearby ship answered the distress call raising no suspicion until it was too late for the security detail to effectively prevent being boarded.   :hmm 


I hadn't thought about the Suez being the sabotage point. And it makes sense: while the New Suez Canal project effectively turned the canal into a two-lane system instead of the old single-lane system, the average wait time to enter the canal is still 3 hours (still not sure if the entire thing is bi-directional, though it appears to be). Figure a "bureaucratic snafu" delays Throne of Neptune's entry into the canal while a frogman rigs a small limpet mine on the rudders. When the mine detonates, it destroys the rudder and damages the screws enough to render the ship dead in the water, maybe compromises the shaft seal(s) enough to cause a bit of flooding in the engineering spaces. Not enough to doom the ship, but enough to keep everyone occupied enough that they don't notice the "fishing vessel" responding to their distress call is actually a hostile until it's too late.

And meanwhile, the pirates really don't know what's up. All they've been told by their bosses is "go to such and such position by such and such a time, board the yacht that will be there, find this woman and bring her back to shore, and your families will know unimaginable wealth."
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    coelacanth

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    Re: Army Yourself - and Help Me Arm My Character
    « Reply #26 on: April 11, 2020, 11:11:31 pm »
    Yup.  And a garden variety distress call would probably be noticed and responded to but not with the same alacrity that terrorist attack in progress might.   See?  This thing is starting to come together.   :cool   
    Arizona" A republic, if you can keep it."

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    Raptor

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    Re: Army Yourself - and Help Me Arm My Character
    « Reply #27 on: April 12, 2020, 08:20:19 am »
    Yup.  And a garden variety distress call would probably be noticed and responded to but not with the same alacrity that terrorist attack in progress might.   See?  This thing is starting to come together.   :cool   

    Yes it is. Thank you guys for all your help!

    Oh, and for the record, I called the yacht Throne of Triton earlier in the thread. That was a typo: it's name is the M/Y Throne of Neptune. Because the owner has an ego that rivals his bank accounts for size.
    PennsylvaniaNon Timebo Mala -- I Will Fear No Evil

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    coelacanth

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    Re: Army Yourself - and Help Me Arm My Character
    « Reply #28 on: April 12, 2020, 01:55:00 pm »
    I noted the difference but figured you were trying out different names to see how they looked in print.  An egotistical billionaire - imagine that.   :whistle
    Arizona" A republic, if you can keep it."

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    Raptor

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    Re: Army Yourself - and Help Me Arm My Character
    « Reply #29 on: April 12, 2020, 02:12:54 pm »
    Actually, I'd already settled on Throne of Neptune before I started the thread. No idea where the heck Triton came from.

    And her owner is an egotistical a$$hole even by billionaire standards. Not a particularly nice individual either: his daughter - the heiress - is all kinds of messed up thanks primarily to him and his collection of ex-wives.
    PennsylvaniaNon Timebo Mala -- I Will Fear No Evil

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    booksmart

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    Re: Army Yourself - and Help Me Arm My Character
    « Reply #30 on: April 12, 2020, 02:14:14 pm »
    Ooh! Here's a thought.

    M/Y Throne of Neptune is a pretty new yacht - 5 years old or less. I imagine that most of the engineering equipment could be computer controlled. Could the saboteur conceivably  hack into the yacht's computer system and insert some code that basically says "If the engines run at greater than or equal to X-RPMs for Y-length of time, activate emergency engine shutdown protocols" or something to that effect that causes the engines to go offline long enough for the pirates to reach and board the vessel.

    With everything computer controlled, rigging the engines to artificially red-line and throttle down to x percentage would be pretty easy.  Could even have it introduced to the system as a virus, via a thumbdrive or an email (high probability of the yacht having basic internet access via satellite link - my brother-in-law is a merchant marine, sailing internationally, and he often can receive email as an "attn: him" in the subject line to one of the permanent crew - usually the captain or the first mate).

    Raptor

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    Re: Army Yourself - and Help Me Arm My Character
    « Reply #31 on: April 12, 2020, 02:48:24 pm »
    With everything computer controlled, rigging the engines to artificially red-line and throttle down to x percentage would be pretty easy.  Could even have it introduced to the system as a virus, via a thumbdrive or an email (high probability of the yacht having basic internet access via satellite link - my brother-in-law is a merchant marine, sailing internationally, and he often can receive email as an "attn: him" in the subject line to one of the permanent crew - usually the captain or the first mate).

    That's a relief, because that would actually be easier (or at least more plausible) for the Big Bad/puppet-master to pull off. Engines go down without warning or seeming cause, yacht sends out a general distress call because they've lost power. The pirates, who were tipped off as described above, respond while posing as fishermen. And everyone is so concerned with trying to figure out WTF is going on with the engine (and possibly other simultaneous system failures too) to realize what's up.
    PennsylvaniaNon Timebo Mala -- I Will Fear No Evil

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    coelacanth

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    Re: Army Yourself - and Help Me Arm My Character
    « Reply #32 on: April 12, 2020, 04:05:53 pm »
    Any such system on an ocean going vessel would have an override - probably manual - built into it.  It would allow the vessel to run on one engine if necessary or at reduced power in an emergency.   At the very least a throttle by wire system would have the ability to accessed from the engine compartment for the purpose of making maintenance, overhaul and troubleshooting possible without using the bridge console/connection.  A computerized engine management system might display a warning signal or several at once but there would necessarily be an option for the operator to ignore or override the warnings as long as the engines were still functional - i.e. fuel and air still available.   

    The engineering on this stuff is way different than the car sitting in your driveway and a realistic story line would need to reflect that.  If sabotage is the method of choice there are a lot of ways to do it but it would need to center on critical systems though. 

    Hull integrity is hard to compromise on such a vessel without a big explosive charge below the water line. 

    Steering and propulsion below the water line is pretty robust stuff too so, again, a big explosive charge is going to be necessary ensure it breaks completely.  The other option might be to foul the steering surfaces and props with something - a commercial fishing net perhaps - that needs to be cleared before proceeding.  Something towed across their bow and with enough bouyancy to stay at or just below the water's surface might work but its not a sure thing. 

    Killing the engines works but marine diesel powerplants are incredibly robust and its not easy.  If I had to do it fast I'd go for fuel starvation. The computerized engine management system would still show the fuel tanks at % full but if the fuel lines were cut or plugged up with something it could take hours to days to diagnose and fix depending on what it was.   

    Air starvation would also be pretty fast but you'd have to get creative since you can't just stuff a sock in the intake and expect nobody to find it.  You might dump bottled nitrogen gas into the air intake out of a scuba tank or something which would reduce the level of oxygen below what was necessary to maintain combustion.  Carbon dioxide might also work.  Most ocean going vessels have on-board welding capability and at least one scuba trained crew member in the engineering/technician ranks in case somebody needs to go in the water to check damage below the water line so an extra scuba tank or a welding gas bottle would not necessarily look out of place.  :hmm

    Nitrous oxide gas dumped into the intakes would frag the engines in pretty short order - particularly at high rpms.  They would get a tremendous performance boost for a minute or two before the engines blew themselves out.  Probably blown heads and gaskets and valves and holed pistons and such - a total loss.  The amount of that gas necessary to do that would easily fit into a big scuba tank.  Some marine diesels are actually equipped with nitrous oxide or propane injection systems from the factory to provide emergency power for short, controlled bursts in an emergency but it sounds like the "Throne of Neptune" might not be one of them based on her leisurely performance specs. 

    Killing the hydraulics used for steering and hull trim would also make the captain shut things down until repairs are made but gross steering corrections can be made using engine throttle settings so it might not result in a quick stop if he/she smelled a rat.   :hmm

    I guess my point is the redundancy built into the systems of ocean going vessels is designed to be hard to overcome.  If I were going for an electronic disable I'd want to make sure it was foolproof and that might be tougher than it appears.   :hmm   Might require a bit of research to get it exactly right and maybe some to get it exactly write - so to speak.   :cool





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    Raptor

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    Re: Army Yourself - and Help Me Arm My Character
    « Reply #33 on: April 12, 2020, 05:43:40 pm »
    Nitrous oxide gas dumped into the intakes would frag the engines in pretty short order - particularly at high rpms.  They would get a tremendous performance boost for a minute or two before the engines blew themselves out.  Probably blown heads and gaskets and valves and holed pistons and such - a total loss.  The amount of that gas necessary to do that would easily fit into a big scuba tank.  Some marine diesels are actually equipped with nitrous oxide or propane injection systems from the factory to provide emergency power for short, controlled bursts in an emergency but it sounds like the "Throne of Neptune" might not be one of them based on her leisurely performance specs. 

    Now there's an idea. Saboteur hacks the yacht's security system and shuts down the CCTV cameras, then installs a large SCUBA tank full on NOS - which would be easy to sneak aboard since the yacht hosts a full suite of diving equipment including a mini submersible - onto the air intakes of one or more engines (haven't decided if she's outfitted with two or four) while the crew is trying to figure out WTF is up with the cameras. Engineering crew notices the unexpected parameter changes - turbochargers overrevving, fuel-air mix leaning out, power output spiking, possible backfiring - and starts shutting the engine(s) down. Maybe they manage it before anything catastrophic occurs - the yachts owner pays for and expects the best in the business - but they either stop the boat completely or else run the remaining engines at a very reduced power setting until they can figure out what happened, disconnect the NOS tank(s), and then assess the damage and determine if they can even restart the engine(s) let alone run them at any kind of reduced RPM.
    PennsylvaniaNon Timebo Mala -- I Will Fear No Evil

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    coelacanth

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    Re: Army Yourself - and Help Me Arm My Character
    « Reply #34 on: April 12, 2020, 06:35:26 pm »
    The nitrous oxide tank would have to be disguised if it was filled commercially - bootlegged it could look like any other scuba tank unless it undergoes close scrutiny - which is unlikely for routine equipment people expect to see. 

    Probably two engines in that size class pushing close to 10,000 bhp combined at full throttle.  They would likely share a common air intake to minimize the space it takes up and also the complexity and man hours necessary to build it and maintain it vis a vis filtration and such.  No filter would affect a nitrous oxide dump though it might make a nice place to install a sabotage device.   :hmm 

    Nitrous oxide works by giving up an extra molecule of oxygen during combustion - which means it supports higher temperatures and pressures inside the combustion chamber than the engine is designed for in an uncontrolled dump.  That's why it gives the performance boost but it has to be tightly controlled or the engine runs away with itself and enters a death spiral in a hurry.  The only way to save it is to shut it down and purge the air intake(s) of any more nitrous oxide.   You would have to really be watching it closely to prevent catastrophic damage - as in actively watching it looking for anything amiss to catch it before any damage occurs. 

    The point is even if sabotage is suspected it would take time to track it down and being focused on things happening aboard the "Throne of Neptune" makes observing approaching vessels less of an immediate concern for all but maybe the security detail and our intrepid hero who probably already thinks something isn't passing the smell test.   
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    Raptor

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    Re: Army Yourself - and Help Me Arm My Character
    « Reply #35 on: April 12, 2020, 07:49:38 pm »
    And the security detail - especially our hero, who comes from a family of Maine Lobsterman and grew up on his relatives' boats - would know something was off right away since modern maritime engines don't randomly run away and start to self-destruct. But they'd probably be expecting and searching for an internal threat, especially since the security system failed first. They'll expect that the engines are a diversion for an attack against the family. And they'll be right, except they won't realize that it's an external threat until the pirates are right on top of them.
    PennsylvaniaNon Timebo Mala -- I Will Fear No Evil

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    coelacanth

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    Re: Army Yourself - and Help Me Arm My Character
    « Reply #36 on: April 12, 2020, 08:24:21 pm »
    I believe you have the bones of a story here, sir.  Please continue.   :coffee
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    Raptor

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    Re: Army Yourself - and Help Me Arm My Character
    « Reply #37 on: April 12, 2020, 10:58:46 pm »
    I believe you have the bones of a story here, sir.  Please continue.   :coffee

    Already working on it.... and just realized that I have to cut not quite half of what I've already written in the manuscript proper (axed about 1100 words total, so not a huge deal) and scrap the car chase/rolling gunfight/dismounted gunfight I was in the middle of writing because a) it was getting rather convoluted and over-the-top, and b) was setting up the hero as just another stereotypical maverick who doesn't listen to orders vs. the death seeker he's supposed to be.
    PennsylvaniaNon Timebo Mala -- I Will Fear No Evil

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    coelacanth

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    Re: Army Yourself - and Help Me Arm My Character
    « Reply #38 on: April 13, 2020, 12:01:22 am »
     :thumbup1
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    LowKey

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    Re: Army Yourself - and Help Me Arm My Character
    « Reply #39 on: April 13, 2020, 01:50:11 am »
    Perhaps this wouldn't be enough to cause a catastrophic failure of the prop, but I was wondering what would happen if a frog man simply attached a weight to one or two of the blades while the ship was in the canal itself, waiting at a lock with the prop not rotating.    Later, when they exit the canal it should be awhile before they get to open sea and throttle up.  Maybe the owner goes ashore to party a bit and the ship cruises slowly  awaiting his return by skiff, whatever.
    Then when they DO throttle up the imbalance causes the prop to tear itself apart.  Especially if the frogman took some time to partially cut through the props...

    coelacanth

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    Re: Army Yourself - and Help Me Arm My Character
    « Reply #40 on: April 13, 2020, 02:12:29 am »
    Possibly but you're talking about a pretty hefty chunk of metal for a vessel that size.  Also, you couldn't guarantee where or when the crew would figure out something is wrong with one of the props and go have a look.   :hmm
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    LowKey

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    Re: Army Yourself - and Help Me Arm My Character
    « Reply #41 on: April 13, 2020, 03:16:09 am »
    Possibly but you're talking about a pretty hefty chunk of metal for a vessel that size.  Also, you couldn't guarantee where or when the crew would figure out something is wrong with one of the props and go have a look.   :hmm
    How hi-tech is the OPFOR?

    Hell, they could plant a small shaped charge (in a streamlined limpet)  pointed back at the prop and blow it either by GPS settings or command detonation.   I suppose an engineering type could come up with an abrasive line that, after being looped around it while in the canal,  would cut through the prop shaft in a given number of revolutions, calculated to place the vessel beyond waters where s speedy rescue could be expected.  :doh

    I mean, civilian yacht crews aren't doing hull sweeps or surveliance as far as I know.

    Raptor

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    Re: Army Yourself - and Help Me Arm My Character
    « Reply #42 on: April 13, 2020, 09:37:41 am »
    How hi-tech is the OPFOR?

    Hell, they could plant a small shaped charge (in a streamlined limpet)  pointed back at the prop and blow it either by GPS settings or command detonation.   I suppose an engineering type could come up with an abrasive line that, after being looped around it while in the canal,  would cut through the prop shaft in a given number of revolutions, calculated to place the vessel beyond waters where s speedy rescue could be expected.  :doh

    I mean, civilian yacht crews aren't doing hull sweeps or surveliance as far as I know.

    Without spoiling too much, the tech level of the OPFOR varies depending on who the Big Bad has hired for each individual attempt. He's something of a control freak, which means that whoever he hired has to use his plan. I can see him coming up with using limpet charge to somehow disable the ship since that fits with his flair for the dramatic, but he doesn't have the engineering know-how to come up with something like the abrasive line plan, while simply unbalancing the prop is too "boring" of an idea for him to even consider.
    PennsylvaniaNon Timebo Mala -- I Will Fear No Evil

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    RetroGrouch

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    Re: Army Yourself - and Help Me Arm My Character
    « Reply #43 on: April 15, 2020, 03:41:41 pm »
    I was going to suggest mucking up the heat exchangers for the engines (I have a friend in S. Florida that cleans and reconditions H.E.s), no matter what manual over ride you have, the engines won't run long without cooling, and they have to be externally available from the wet side to work.
    Arizona

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