The adventures of JOHN STORM and the SOLAR NAVIGATOR
CYBER WARS © by Jameson Hunter
CHAPTER 3: LASER CANNON © Jameson Hunter 2008 - 2014
330 20’S, 1520 E – Nelson’s Bay, and a cove on the Australian East Coast.
That was a close call with the Somali Pirates John thought. As he drifted into sleep his mind went back in time to the day he and Dan discovered the laser cannon. John recalled that the Solar Navigator glided silently through the giant roll up doorway to their hangar. She had just completed her maiden voyage with flying colors.
John had expertly piloted the vessel into the wet hangar with Dan watching every move interestedly. He applied reverse thrust to bring the boat to a halt. The two men had grins from ear to ear. The boat was full of surprises, but there was much to learn. The two colleagues exited the command module along the under-deck walkway, then down the port wing walkway, and excitedly tied up the Navigator fore and aft, eager to compare notes and grab a bite to eat.
“I could eat a horse” said Dan, “adventuring is a hungry business!”
“Watch this,” said John as he pulled a small key fob sized transmitter from his trouser pocket. He pressed one of the buttons, and all the hatches closed and locked. “She’s now alarmed.” Impressed, Dan raised his eyebrows and nodded, even though it was he who mostly wired up the boat.
Without wasting any time, Dan prodded the kick start lever on his trusty Honda dirt bike. The 600cc four stroke engine sprang into life. “Back in a jiffy skip,” he shouted donning a helmet, as he headed for the exit and Raymond Terrace. “The usual?”
“You beauty,” acknowledged John, exaggerating his slight Aussie accent, and with that the Honda blazed a dust trail, along the wharf, front wheel grabbing air, amid a purposeful whaaa, whaaa and some well timed gear shifting. “Kids,” mooted John, thinking back to his hey days on two wheels, wistfully.
Thirty minutes later, the two men sat munching on ½ pound burgers with everything and French fries. They sucked milk shakes through a twirl straw, just like a couple of students. The light was dim in the hangar with the fluorescents off and the outer doors closed.
“I’ve always hankered after the perfect burger.”
“Me too,” said Dan, “super size me.”
“Nah, I’m into quality. A balanced meal nutritionally; protein, roughage and salad. It’s gotta be a custom deal. In fact, I’ve never found a perfect burger, not even in any high-class restaurants. It came close to the perfect desert though, at a place in Sussex.” They ate their fill at record pace.
“Naughty,” both men said at the same time, wiping the flour from their lips.
The Navigator gently bobbed as a large MFV passed by the jetty outside, catching the captain’s attention. John’s eyebrows arched, his eyes narrowed quizzically. He’d noticed again there was a round plate below the nose of the command module. He squinted, concentrating on the panel. Something important should fill that void? Was it just forward planning, or was something missing. He’d left the detail stuff to Dan, but didn’t like question marks. It was odds on that something was missing. It bothered him, Dan too.
“Let’s have a tidy up,” said John, leaping up. He collected all the burger packaging and deposited that in large wheelie bin. They didn’t know where to start? There were empty boxes everywhere. In fact, a big pile had accumulated to one side of the hangar as boxed parts had been taken off the racks of shelving, the parts fitted and the boxes discarded. John opened the side door to a stream of light flickering on dust particles. He motioned outside, and started carrying flattened cardboard outside.
“We’ll take this to recycling tomorrow first thing.” Both men then raced each other, to load a VW camper van and a trailer. Finally, the hangar was cleared ready for sweeping.
“What’s in this crate?” said Dan, brushing a heap of accumulated dust onto the floor, from a canvas covered pine crate 1 meter by 1.5 meters by 2 meters, with rope handles at either end. Somehow this box had been overlooked, tucked away in the corner, covered in a natural beige tarpaulin. John came over carrying a canvas tool bag that had seen a lot of wear. The duo pulled off the tarp, amid more dust clouds, emerging with mucky faces, somewhat bemused.
“No time like the present,” said John, pulling a gorilla bar from his bag. He carefully inserted the sharp chiseled end under one corner, pushing hard. The corner lifted twenty millimeters, allowing him to apply more leverage, then fifty millimeters. Working his way along, one whole side lifted enough to prize the lid off completely.
Inside the crate was compartmentalized, which in itself seemed unusual. All the parts were wrapped in a soft cloth, with a metal film coated plastic foam wrapping underneath; obviously, sensitive electrical components.
“Hold on,” said Dan. “We’d better take precautions.” He turned on the fluorescent lights and laid out a clean dust cloth of the type used by decorators, over a metal framed worktop. He earthed himself, and then unwrapped the components one by one, laying them on the cloth.
“This looks like some kind of advanced weapon,” said John. Dan was thinking the same, nodding in agreement. The two men stood silently staring at the gleaming array of precision engineered parts, a gimballed, motorised mechanism, some kind of telescopic aimer and a satin matt black tubular assembly with giant heat sink fins. There was also a good deal of cabling and some black control boxes. Finally, there was a beautifully bound A5 instruction booklet.
“Ah, ha”, Dan leapt on the manual. "Crikey, it says here that this is a 40kW pulsed laser cannon."
John recalled arguing with Dan, "No, it can't be and even if it was it wouldn't be much good at sea."
"Why is that skip?"
"Because lasers that are fired through moisture laden air quickly lose their energy." Thank heavens that when they tested the laser cannon that it proved to have an effective range and deadly penetration. Otherwise, the pirates would have to have been engaged with conventional firearms.
John drifted off he wondered why the Somalians
had targeted his boat........
.Laser cannon as featured in Star Wars and aboard USS Dewy 2012 test firings. The tubular Laser Weapon System (LaWS) is a solid-state laser that’s been in development for six years, at a cost of $40 million. It’s a directed-energy descendent of the the radar-guided Close In Weapons System (CIWS; it rhymes with “Gee Whiz”) gun already aboard surface ships. The US laser programs lacked focus for years: should the Navy do the harder work of developing a vastly more powerful Free Electron Laser; or get the less impressive but more practical solid-state lasers into the fleet first? They took the low cost option. The Navy’s shipboard gun and missile arsenal, at its cheapest, costs $5,000 per shot. With a directed energy pulse weapon, they can take out something that may cost millions of dollars, with a weapon round that costs about one dollar to shoot.” As the Navy sees it, that’s the ultimate promise of laser guns: a weapon that undercuts the increasing cheapness and availability of powerful missiles and robots. It’s by no means certain that the Navy can realize the promise. But it’s now fully committed to trying.
WARS (CYBERCORE) Copyright
© Jameson Hunter 2008 and 2014.
right of Jameson Hunter to be identified as the
author of this work has been asserted in
accordance with section 77 and 78 of the
Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988.
In this work of fiction, the characters, places and events are either the product of the author’s imagination or they are used entirely fictitiously.
This book is sold subject to the conditions that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, re-sold, hired out or otherwise circulated in any form of binding or cover other than that which it it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.
in 10/11pt Palatino by Electrick
Publications, London, England.
Electrick Publications, London, England.
Papers used by Electrick’s Publishers are natural, recyclable products made from wood grown in sustainable forests. The manufacturing processes conform to the environmental regulations of the country of origin.
This website is Copyright © 1999 & 2014 Electrick Publications & Blueplanet Netdirect Productions.
The bird logo and name Solar Navigator are trademarks. All rights reserved. Max Energy Limited is an educational charity working hard for world peace.