Comic 72 - Disco Reject
5th Oct 2012, 10:17 PM in Jungle
Disco Reject
Average Rating: 5 (8 votes) Rate this comic
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Author Notes:
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Originally her coat was BRIGHT ORANGE, but it was just painful to look at. So I gave her a more mature, sensible, business-like color. YES SHE LOOKS COMPLETELY LEGIT NOW.

Anyway, what are some uses you could come up with for the mass-shed mass-gain tech? If they're interesting, I might add them into the comic!

There will be a page tomorrow (just a chapter title).
User comments:
Sounds a lot like Mass effect ( the vid game ) .. ( thats not a bad thing btw )
( I have a bunch of AG/mass manipulation tech in mine too :D ) BTW Riot is cute too !
Naw, Mass Effect's space magic was very different from our space magic.

Even if their explanation was similar, they randomly decided their space magic could do crazy shit like fireballs from a psychic's hand. Ours can just increase and decrease the mass of itself.
I'll have to brainstorm some Mass bending tech tonight.

The only comment I have at this time is, while I love the shade change on Iri's nose, her lighter shade change nose just seems... off to me.
I'm still playing around. The problem is that her skin tone is very dark compared to Iri, so a darker nose is basically black.
True. But idk the inverted color change just seems odd to me.

Are there any restrictions to required size or portability to Mass-change Tech?

Like could it be something small enough for a person to wear? The first thing that comes to mind would be something Iri would wear to change her body mass in combat to heighten her combat prowess.
It's more energy intensive to do it to smaller things. If there were low-mass suits, they would be super expensive.
What if the nasal color difference went up a bit higher towards the eyebrows?

Seems like the mass manipulation effect could make liquids flow up hill.
Well, it can't go to negative mass. It could make liquid lighter than air, I guess.
If it could make liquid lighter then air, couldn't there be an Atlantis type city somewhere?
Lets say that two ships try to leave earth at the same time, lets say Mad scientist is trying to get away from Nasty General ... he could invent a machine that instead of adding mass to his own gravity keel, could add mass to another's gravity keel. That way he could add mass to the General's gravity keel, which would slow the general down (or even make him crash) and let the Mad Scientist get away. :)

Alternatively, if a bunch of enenies are after you, add a lot of mass to the biggest ship's gravity keel and watch the other ships get pulled into it's gravity field. :D

Big old clusterf*** !
Hmm, fast direction changes come to mind.
Basically anyting involving inertia would be affected. Decrease mass, and your velocity shoots way up.
Structural integrity, especially in a purely spacebound vehicle, would have radically different requirements.
Tugboats, both water and space varieties, would implement this tech to improve what they could do.
Bridges would also love this tech. Imagine spanning the straight of Gibralter with a bridge with no support pillars.
You could make the largest seabound transport a hydrofoil.
Space elevators would be easy. Heck, manipulate the field properly and I bet you could get the entire space elevator to enter and leave a planetary gravity well.
Hehe, a funny idea, kaber tossing would take on a WHOLE new dimension if you could heft an 8kg spaceship!
Heck, with enough power, you could change the orbits of PLANETS.
Heheh, you can, in fact, change the orbit of planets. That's a great idea.

Not only would bridges be super-light, but the cars passing over them could be made super-light as well, perhaps even simply using air pressure to push them along...

I like the idea of using seas a lot more aggressively.

Can't do space elevators easily, but maybe one or two would be good...

I've actually been assuming in the opposite direction as some of your comments - inertia is not conserved, velocity is. So you can't accelerate or decelerate by changing mass.

Instead, you accelerate while low-mass and then turn high-mass while moving rapidly.

This is why it's an infinite energy source.
All my ideas so far have been combat based, I need to be thinking more practical and everyday convenience type stuff.

The Iri idea was her bodysuit to make her overall more nimble and agile.
The next idea was a pair of gloves or gauntlets. Low mass punch into high mass just before impact.

Vehicles and travel would of course become a breeze with ultra-low mass vehicles. Output based on Power to Weight ratio can be easily cheated to require much less fuel. Because smaller engines/power sources would be required along with lighter frames to support it all you wouldn't need a large or high powered Mass shed system overall thus making it practical for common use in personal vehicles.
You may have noticed that about half the vehicles have been hovercrafts and aircars... :D

The only issue I have with the personal equipment is that it takes almost as much energy to make Iri mass a kilogram as it does to make a tank mass a kilogram. So small-scale stuff is really expensive and energy-intensive.
Thinking further on the planet moving idea.
Keeping a solar system stable after such a move could be problematic to unsolvable. You'd have to solve the gravity equation for the whole solar system. Some modeling I read about usually ended with the 'foreign' planet eventually ejected from solar orbit entirely.
And I've found you your 'Death Star' equivalent. Grab planetismals from the Oort cloud and toss them at any planet you don't like. :(
Stopping such a projectile would probably be an absolute BITCH, even if you could reach the thing fairly early, you'd need enough equipment and power to deflect the thing.
If you're still looking for applications, might a ship go super heavy if it goes in to ram something?

Or just using drones that can become REALLY heavy to bend lasers or missiles around/away from you.

It would have to be REALLY heavy to bend the lasers.

Actually, speaking of really heavy, what about a black hole bomb? Something that pushes its mass briefly to singularity levels (which I assume would break the mass-gain... thing, causing it to revert). But you've got a brief, one-shot black hole. Put it on a missile, and you've got something potentially very dangerous.
I mentioned a long time ago that Unity couldn't take the Space Federation on, because Unity is too reliant on fighters.

The Space Federation, on the other hand, uses fractional-C kinetic kill drones. :D

Their lasers are built to turn those kinds of weapons into dust. So fightercraft are pretty much cute little kittens to them.

As of yet, high-grav weapons are theoretical. High-mass weapons are much easier... for the moment.

But it does make nuke-pumped lasers realllllly easy.
Or in a NON warlike application, you could have gravity in pretty much any habitat, without worrying about spin. Actually, if you're clustering around a central "core" of "heavy," the simplest design might be a sphere, wrapped around the heavy bits. Also, you might be able to design some interesting habitats, where you use multiple heavy nodes to create artificial lagrange points. Add a zero g park in the middle of your spacecity!

Also, floating cities might work too. And you could manage some truly INSANE architecture if you can lighten parts of your building/make it not collapse under its own weight.
Generally, people in cities don't like shedded buildings, because if the mechanism fails for some reason, the building collapses.

Obviously, space stations are built so that they won't disintegrate if their gravity fails. I haven't really been thinking about multi-centered gravity in space stations, that's an interesting idea.

You can do some fun layering - the space station core is super-massive to create gravity, but everyone in the blue zone is de-massed so they weigh almost nothing anyway... :D

Spaceships aren't circular because nearly every spaceship is built to be able to land on a planet. However, we have seen some circular ships already that were never intended to land on the planet. They tend to be military.
I'm kind of disappointed. I spent all day on campus at a job fair, just got back home now, and as a result missed out on all the space magic talk, and can't come up with a good reintroduction point at the moment.

I do want to say though, I'm so glad you went with color in this comic. Poison monkeys are damn good with color, or at the very least, brave. I also can't help be fond of the noses.

PS - As I was typing this, I went back between pages real quick, and noticed you updated her nose. My point still stands. I look forward to seeing the development of the other monkey characters.
I haven't decided about the noses. The problem is that nose decorations are really tough to do unless you're just doing cutesy-cutesy dot noses (which is originally how they were sketched).

Anyway, if you can think of any added uses for the shedding system, I'm happy to hear them.
Nose decorations also make them silly hard to color/shade.
I think in this particular case, it might work well with the other adornments on her face. The key is to avoid making the overall product too visually busy. Was colored noses (which I personally like) something you were set on, or do other areas get color variations? Also, are the variations biological, do they put them on like tattoos, or is there maybe a combination of both?

As for the shedding thing. I have to think about it. My mind is severely cemented into Chem Eng mode right now from interviewing all day, and all I can think about is projectile and cudgel applications, which have already been discussed. Maybe that's because I just really want to play Borderlands right now.
The variations are genetic, but it's extremely easy to get them fixed at a reskin facility. It's roughly the equivalent of getting a tattoo. So, if I stick with this look, hers are artificial.
Alright. Looked up some pictures to get an idea of some of the variations in monkey species and and came up with this for her. Lighter coloration around the eyes instead of the nose. Not sure how you would pull off the mouth/chin but that's an idea too.
Hmm, well then. If I had to guess as to what his coloration would have been I would have pinned him as a mandrill baboon for the more aggressive and intimidating look.
I'm sorry, I was staring at her the entire time. What'd she say?
A Ceres size asteriod* could have earth normal gravity and hold atmosphere and be terraformed.

*(Or even smaller.)
Ahh, that would be awesome! You could have adorable little baby planets that were fully habitable!

This technology must be used to create live-action "The Little Prince" role-playing.
Hmm... a "little prince" asteroid owned by a crazy space rich guy could be fun. I think I know how that encounter ends.
You could use this technology to artificially compress matter into degenerate matter! For... reasons. I have no idea what you'd do with it. SCIENCE, probably.

Also, very useful for garbage compacting.
oh! i wonder if you can create neutron stars?
I don't really have any plans to allow compression that far, unless you can come up with something cool about it.

Garbage, though, that's an interesting and easy one. I wonder if I can do a Star Wars Trash Compactor scene, but fucking crazy.
There was an idea I read somewhere ages ago about using artificial gravity on a ship to play havoc with enemy boarding parties. If ships (maybe say, just military ships) can vary gravity section by section, instead of having one "keel" with the same gravity level throughout, then that could be a fun idea. "Sir, we've been boarded, deck three!" "Okay, reverse gravity on deck three! Now turn it back the way it was! Now reverse it again! Now triple it! Now free fall! Now return it to normal, and send in a medical team to pick up the boarders."

Also, Kax should have an exercise room with its own increased gravity field, for extra tough-itude. :D
That's a good point. Boarders are really rare, though. Mostly it's just Iri.
Mining in and/or clearing safe navigation routes through asteroid belts.
how how and how low can you get the mass? get it high enough and you can shoot black holes, get it low enough and you can go close to the speed of light which is kinda devastating for you and anything in your path, causing fusion whenever you touch an atom and all that.

i'm not sure how are you affecting the mass of stuff, but if you can affect the mass of stars you could either snuff out the fission reaction or cause a supernova.
You can get pretty light, but when you're getting heavy you have to avoid being so heavy the device collapses.
Hmm, raising the mass of a target element would make hitting it with atoms of another element easier. You'd be able to get away with "Space Alchemy" in some circumstances if you did it right.

It'd be pretty gold to hit Iri with Beryllium particles.
You would have to increase the mass of all atoms in the chamber (and the chamber itself). Hmmm, I have no idea what that would do in terms of the characteristics of fusion.
At the end of the day, wouldn't the characteristics of fusion and other atomic forces be a function of the number of particles, rather than the individual particle masses?
Perhaps, but at the very least their interactions patterns would be different. I'm already using "easy fusion" as the primary power source, so maybe I'll just keep assuming that it's the same, but easier to reach critical mass.
In "NausicaƤ of the Valley of the Wind" there is a scene where the heroine is seen refueling her flying wing with a pitcher of water.
Well, if you can increase pressure on mass as well, you could turn coal into diamonds ... I wonder if there's other interesting transformations that could be done ?
Not that it's entirely relevant, but whenever I see this brought up, I have the compulsion to chime in. Coal will never make a diamond of worth. There are simply too many impurities. As of right now, the largest source of pollution in terms of releasing radiation into the atmosphere is coal burning, for when you burn coal, all the radioactive metals and other isotopes are vaporized... not exactly what you want in a jewelry diamond.
While you could make industrial diamonds, those are fairly cheap already and would not need new fancy schmancy technologies to be viable.
One thing I'm a little unclear on; is only a specific material able to be subjected to mass change? Or is it like you have a big energy hungry generator somewhere that you somehow 'aim' at the objects you're manipulating the mass of?

Because if it's the second I have to start wondering about range since there are plenty of mean things you can do to someone when you control the mass of their ship.

Using gravic properties of mass you'd have ftl communication if that problem hadn't already been solved.

And the question of what an increase in mass might mean for fusion reactions is pretty interesting... My understanding is that the energy released by fusion the mass difference between the start elements and end element. So increasing its mass should be like directly manipulating the M in E=MC^2. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong.

Sorry if the comment comes a couple days late, I've been outta town.
The generator creates a contained bubble of mass-droppage or gainage. But it has to be on the inside of the bubble, and the bubble has to be contiguous.

So no range, really. Starships are built so that their main hull is a resonator, so the whole ship can be manipulated at one go. The grav keel is a separate resonance envelope.

Heavily armored military ships often make each armored plate its own resonance envelope with its own mass shed system. This means armor can be made very light when you need to maneuver, or extremely heavy if you want to blunt attacks more effectively. Also, you can turn the ship by "massing up" tiles in the direction you want to go, rather than using vectored thrust.
Erm... if you can mass up a fired slug as in your rail gun example... Wouldn't that mean changing mass of specific bits of ships would have no effect on their drift?

I'd thought of the ability to mass up defensive bits but I was thinking more like chaff. Dropping a cloud of sand and massing it up would do amazing and terrible things to anything moving at appreciable speed.
Mass Field Mines. Hide them under radar shielding with some sort of precog-nulling material (There's bound to be one, somewhere, that makes it hard for precogs to see them; Or perhaps the shifting patterns m ake them unreliably detected?), paint them black with a few speckles of colour so they aren't dark matter-like against the backdrop of the starry space behind and such; and have them vary the intensity of the field so that things become super-light within the field, but retain their mass outside, or vice versa.

As the mass change affects the density it wrecks havoc on the weak electron force binding the atoms together, causing an atomic cascade reaction where that part of a larger ship would collapse against the rest, or tear itself free- the weak force would be basically dissolved at the point of contact with the field, causing sections to effectively slough off unless they retained a certain harmonic mass field themselves- Gravitic shielding as you posited if the effect bubbles overlapped and were programmed to act in unison, for example- Or so I would theorize based on late-night/early morning napkin physics.

There would also be the potential to utilize the mass altering function to set up a relay system to basically mass driver messages, materials, and possibly individuals at significant fractions of C- faster than the fractional-c drones would be capable of.

Either way, using a field like that in atmosphere would pretty much guarentee either any personnel inside are crushed by the increased density of air (And it's quite possible that Rex (pet name) has a personal bubble field for a higher density than M-rated planetoids for his personal space as he seems to be a heavy worlder, as it would have a similar effect on how gravity functions for him, acting as a force multipler as well) or to cause all the air in the bubble to very quickly vanish and turn the bubble into an effective vacuum until the field collapses. Very deadly, and very eco-friendly, compared to nuclear or chemical warfare.
Gotta say, I love the uses of mass tech almost as much as I love Riot's hair.