2018/09/20

Combat Frame Data: CF-02

CF-02 Grenzmark I

CF-02 Grenzmark I

Technical Data

Model number: CF-02
Code name: Grenzmark I
Nickname: Thimble Head
Classification: mass production general use combat frame
Manufacturer: Seed Corporation
Operator: Systems Overterrestrial Coalition
First deployment: CY -6
Crew: 1 pilot in cockpit in chest
Height: 17.5 meters
Weight: dry weight 43.5 metric tons, full weight 51.2 metric tons
Armor type: Ceramic/steel composite
Powerplant: cold fusion reactor, max output 611 KW
Propulsion: rocket thrusters: 38,000 kg total thrust, 180° turn time 1.95 seconds; legs: top ground speed 180 kph
Sensors: Radar/optical array; main camera mounted under grilled "head"
Fixed armaments: none
Hand armaments: 110mm machine gun, 40 rounds per magazine;  heat axe, battery-powered, stored on skirt armor rack

General Notes

Lead Seed Corp combat frame engineer Tesla Browning answered the CSC's call for a front line CF with the powerful CF-01-1 Type One. The Coalition's Terrestrial Affairs Ministry vetoed mass production of the Type One due to its prohibitive cost and complexity.

With their developmental prototype nixed, Seed Corp submitted a succession of revised designs, removing features and lowering performance each time, until Secretary Gohaku finally granted approval. The result was the CF-02 Grenzmark I.

Though a mere shadow of its predecessor by every conceivable metric, the Grenzmark I outmatched the equipment fielded by earth's anti-SOC mobs. When deployed for urban pacification and crowd control, the aptly nicknamed Thimble Heads proved more than equal to the task.

The CF-02's shortcomings became apparent during their few engagements with legacy military materiel. While the Grenzmark I's 110mm machine gun could devastate any contemporary armor, its low speed and maneuverability left it vulnerable to air strikes, particularly from attack helicopters, which gained a reputation as the CFs' natural predators.

CSC Director Sanzen made an end run around the Ministry of Terrestrial Affairs, which had been stonewalling his demands for better equipment. He submitted property damage and casualty figures from the escalating conflict on earth directly to Commerce Minister Satsu. Funding was soon approved for an updated line of combat frames, leading to mass-production of the superior CF-05 Grenzmark C.

See the venerable CF-02 in action! Back Combat Frame XSeed on Indiegogo now, and get the eBook two months before the official launch!

Combat Frame XSeed

2018/09/19

It Doesn't Diverge

SpaceX

Readers have asked where the Combat Frame XSeed timeline diverges from ours. I always respond that it doesn't. The series' backstory starts at Current Year and envisions how the various crises now besetting the world might shake out with a couple of curve balls thrown in.

One central conceit of XSeed lore involves descendants of corporate oligarchs weaponizing their private space program. In light of that fact, you can imagine how amusing I found this story.
Elon Musk’s rocket-making company is not only tight with the Pentagon but, if duty calls, could also start launching military weapons, SpaceX’s president and chief operating officer has said.
SpaceX is known for daring plans to colonize the moon and Mars, and it seems the company is open to including arms in its portfolio of things which they blast into space.
“If it’s for the defense of this country, yes, I think we would,” Gwynne Shotwell told a room packed with military officials and defense contractors on Monday, various outlets reported.
The executive didn’t elaborate on the types of weaponry SpaceX might launch. Yet, the Pentagon-linked crowd seemed quite excited anyway, as Shotwell’s response was met with loud applause. 
Speaking at an Air Force Association event, Shotwell boasted about the company’s partnership with the military. SpaceX has spent “a lot of time building our relationship with the Air Force” and is “now in a good position,” she said.
When it comes to weapons, it wouldn’t be that surprising that the rocket maker may actually end up on the Pentagon’s shortlist. The US Air Force was impressed by the successful test launch of the Falcon Heavy rocket in February, and later awarded the company a $130 million contract to send a military satellite into orbit.
The company’s willingness to launch weapons might also come in handy after President Donald Trump recently ordered the creation of ‘Space Force’ as an independent branch of the US Command.
Right on schedule. It's all the more fitting that this announcement comes from SpaceX since I intended the word XSeed to evoke the same corporatist aesthetic as the name of Musk's company.

Stock up on canned food and water filters.

And if you haven't backed the Combat Frame XSeed Indiegogo campaign yet, now is a great time to jump on board. We're 274% funded with 500% needed for the audiobook. We've added new perks, including a place in the novel's dedication and a private dinner/signing with me. There's also one Build-a-Mech perk left, so if you're a budding CF engineer, get it while the getting's good!

Combat Frame XSeed

2018/09/18

XSeed Audio Sample Chapter

Combat Frame XSeed

Big news, audiophiles! JimFear138 of Dimension Bucket Studios was kind enough to produce a professional quality sample of the planned Combat Frame XSeed audiobook. You can check out his rendition of the first chapter right here.



In other XSeed news, beta reader feedback is coming in, and the early reaction is unanimously positive. It looks like I nailed the Gundam feel with this one. But don't take my word for it. You'll get to judge for yourself soon--sooner if you claim any of the Indiegogo perks, which all come with early eBook access.

ArtAnon reports that colorization of the line art for the trading cards is proceeding apace. I'll update you here and on the Indiegogo page when the card perk becomes available.

Don't forget to back the Combat Frame XSeed Indiegogo campaign. We've added new perks, including a one-on-one dinner and signing with me. Get special rewards and help us reach that $5000 audiobook stretch goal!

In a Heartbeat Kevin MacLeod (http://incompetech.com )
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

2018/09/17

What's in front of You

What's behind You

I found the image above making the rounds and thought it would serve as a fun bit of nostalgia fodder. Judging by the pop culture references scattered throughout, the scene depicted above takes place in a teenager's room in an idealized version of the early 1990s. It's a clear summer night, and our young gamer is sitting back to enjoy a few rounds of Street Fighter II.

There are a couple of almost certainly purposeful inconsistencies. Most of the showcased ephemera suggests an American subject, but he's playing a Super Famicom instead of a SNES, so we have an interesting distortion of space. Doom also wasn't released for Nintendo systems until 1995, whereas everything else in the room hails from no later than 93, so there's a dreamlike compression of time. It makes for a compelling contrast.

Audience participation time. It's mid-summer of your thirteenth year. You're chilling at home on a perfect evening with your diversion of choice. Put yourself in the place of the kid in this picture. What's in front of you? Tell us what you're doing, and list some of the artifacts that would have been in a snap shot taken from the same perspective at the time.

If the header image has one demerit, it's a decided lack of anime content. As long as we're blending Eastern and Western 90s pop culture, that room could use a Gundam model or a Macross poster. Luckily, Combat Frame XSeed is coming to make up for what's lacking. Support the runaway hit Indiegogo campaign now, get amazing perks, and help us fund the XSeed audiobook!

Combat Frame XSeed

2018/09/15

Aircraft Data: HVRJ-2

HVRJ-2 Thor Prototype
HVRJ-2 Thor Prototype

Technical Data

Model number: HVRJ-2
Code name: Thor Prototype
Nickname: Marilyn
Classification: prototype V/STOL attack aircraft
Manufacturer: Seed Corporation
Operator: EGE
First deployment: CY -1
Crew: 1 pilot/1 pilot and 1 navigator in two-seat cockpit
Length: 17 meters
Weight: dry weight 36 metric tons, full weight 60 metric tons
Powerplant: x2 afterburning turbojets: 151,000 kg thrust each, top speed 3348kph; maneuvering thrusters: x4 vectored thrust nozzles, main afterburners are hinged to assist takeoff/hovering.
Sensors: radar, thermal, optical array, targeting laser, and main camera mounted in nose
Fixed armaments: x2 20mm Vulcan cannon, mounted in nose; Mjolnir prototype electrolaser, output rated at 900 KW
Optional hand armaments: x2 heat sword, stored in tactical pods folded under wings

General Notes

Renowned for combat frames, Seed Corporation began as a manufacturer of farming equipment for the space colonies. The company's interests didn't stop there. Seed and its subsidiaries produced everything from military grade hardware to snack foods. Many prototypes were built as test beds for experimental design concepts never intended for mass production, let alone sale.

One such experimental design was the HVRJ-2, a prototype attack aircraft dubbed the Thor by Seed Corp personnel. The Thor Prototype began life under the aegis of a military research project attempting to develop practical energy weapons. The project stalled when the electrolaser prototype devised as the weapon system's main component performed below reliability parameters.

The HVRJ-2 design was rescued from the dustbin when Tesla Browning searched the archives for a platform to test combat frame armaments at ultra-high speeds unattainable by standard CFs. Browning and his software design team lead Maximus Darving modified the Thor Prototype to incorporate combat frame technology, mostly as an engineering exercise. To manage the aircraft's highly complex systems, Darving wrote a new A.I. he named Marilyn, a refinement of his previous NORMA navigating application.

Unknown to the project's Coalition backers, Darving had been in contact with EGE Naval Intelligence officer Li Wen. Over the course of several conversations, Lieutenant Li turned Darving from his already shaky Seed Corp loyalties to make him an EGE asset. He resolved to defect and saw his chance on the day of the Thor Prototype's first test flight. Under the guise of performing a last-minute software check, Darving stole the aircraft and set course for the EGE fleet. He narrowly avoided being shot down by CSC forces and crash-landed on the deck of the EGE flagship Yamamoto.

For his impressive technical expertise and the immense wealth of intelligence he provided to the EGE--not to mention adding a powerful new aircraft to the carrier wing--Darving received a commission as an EGE Air Corps captain. He went on to command the Thor Prototype throughout the Coalition incursions of CY 1 and into the start of the Kazoku War.

See the Thor Prototype in action in my new mecha/Mil-SF novel Combat Frame XSeed, coming in January. Can't wait that long? Get the novel early and take your pick of exclusive rewards by backing XSeed on Indiegogo now!

Combat Frame XSeed