Fed2 Star - the newsletter for the space trading game Federation 2

The weekly newsletter for Fed2
by ibgames

EARTHDATE: December 10, 2017

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by Alan Lenton

Following on from the piece about lightning strikes creating anti-matter in the last issue of Winding Down (http://www.ibgames.net/fednews/2017/171203/official10.html), a player asked why, if anti-matter is so explosive, people in Fed can move it around in 75 ton lots.

Good question. Especially given that you don’t need very much anti-matter combined with regular matter to make a very big bang...

So first, we need to understand that shipping containers come in a single size and the 75 tons is what it contains, including any necessary support equipment. In the case of anti-matter you are only actually carrying a few tens of grams of the stuff. The rest of the weight is taken up by equipment to keep it safe. This includes high-powered magnetic field generators to hold it so it does not touch regular matter, ultra-high vacuum equipment to make sure no air is in the case, and two built in generators for redundant power supplies.

When you sell it on an exchange you sell the whole package, you don’t take the anti-matter out and hand it over to the buyer.

Actually, anti-matter is not the only cargo that needs its own support equipment. Livestock is transported as frozen embryos and needs refrigeration equipment. Monopoles need shielding, or they will magnetize the whole ship, petrochemicals are usually surrounded by an inert atmosphere. And of course radioactives need radiation shielding. Actually, that’s not all they need – some of the radioactives need to be packaged in smaller chunks of a sub-critical size. The effect of trying to ship a single 75 ton blob of, say, plutonium, would be, as we Brits put it, “interesting!”

Explosives, munitions, propellants and weapons also need to be packed safely, if you don’t want holes blown in the hull of your spaceship. Nanos, depending on what sort they are, can also be very dangerous – after all, you would want your spaceship (and its driver) reduced to a grey goo, now, would you? As for biologicals...

And finally, I’m told that Katydidics can produce some interesting and unintended results if not packed properly.

So, now you know.

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