Technical Explanatory Interlude!

Approximately every chapter, I'll stop to offer a technological explanation of the more esoteric physical and mathematical concepts- as well as those things I feel deserve special recognition- within the short story, so as to make them comprehendable to those who don't keep up with theoretical physics and the latest technological breakthroughs.

And off we go:

1) Space-to-Ground Shuttles: The NGS Roger Young holds a large supply of re-entry capable dropships, each equipped to hold 24 fully armored Marines, plus 1 vehicle, as well as ammunition and supplies. The dropships have heavy shields and point-defense weapons, and are capable of acceleration up to 30g positive 'y', 8g negative 'y', and 4g 'x' and 'y'. For the comfort of the passengers, inertial compensators automatically dampen any acceleration down to 5 g's, in addition to absorbing shock waves. *Special note: The dropships in which our heroes ride have their inertial compensators removed- for the most part- and take up the open room with additional shield generators.*

2) Marine Ranks: The Marines have a relatively simple military hierarchy, ranging from "Fleet Admiral", who commands an entire fleet worth of ships and troops, to "Private", who commands only herself. A "Platoon Captain" is commands a full platoon, made up of 36 Marines divided into 3 squads. His "Platoon Sergeant" (Usually around the rank of Master Sergeant) is his XO (Executive Officer)- typically a career NCO (Non-Commisioned Officer)- and leads the troops in accordance with his Captain's orders. Below the Platoon Sergeant are the "Squad Sergeants" (Usually around Staff Sergeant), who are usually non-career NCO's, who command 12-man squads. Below them are the other NCO ranks: Sergeant, Specialist 1st, Specialist 2nd, and Specialist 3rd. The Privates and Corporals are the only enlisted men.

3) Powered Armor: *This one's complex.* Powered armor is any of the numerous types of self-contained protective suit that provides powered assistance to the movement of the user. Linked through neural connections, the suit automatically moves limbs and body parts to match the movements of the user. Each suit is specially calibrated for a single operator, and will work incorrectly or not at all for anyone else. The helmet contains optical and aural upgrades for the user: his vision is magnified to be approximately 20-10, with infrared, ultraviolet, subspace, and long-distance vision modes; his hearing becomes sensitive enough to pick up cat footfalls on the other side of a concrete wall, but includes discriminators to prevent sonic damage. Also built in to the helmet is a complex communications rig, which can communicate on over 50 billion distinct frequencies, and includes variable frequency modulation and 4096-bit encryption. The user has access to several channels, including direct to his commander, to his closest subordinate, to the highest-ranking individual left alive on a battlefield, and many more, all possible variations. The HUD (Heads-up-display) contains an auto-updating map, showing friendly and enemy locations, as well as projected points of contention. The suit uses two different types of active defenses- described below- and features a neutronium -described below- outer skin, capable of stopping kinetic energy projectiles up to 18,000,000 joules, and absorbing heats of up to 500 degrees Celsius. The suit uses nano-fibers *Neutronium fibers less then 1 billionth of a meter in diameter.* to manipulate itself. The nano-fibers are connected to nanomachines- in the billions- each having an energy output of around .1 joule. The suit uses gravitic-based aeropropulsion systems, able to move the suit and user through the air at a height of 40 feet and a maximum velocity of 100 meters per second, with an acceleration of approximately 5g. The armor contains a full suite of air filters, which use nanomachines *Machines less then a billionth of a meter in size- to scale, an atom is a tenth of a billionth of a meter.* to eradicate any and all chemical, biological, and radiological elements down to atomic size. The armor is completely self-sufficient, assuming a constant supply of organic matter is available- organic matter will automatically be converted into edible foodstuffs, and water will be collected from the atmosphere, surroundings, and synthesized through chemical process. Oxygen is constantly recycled at 98% efficiency, blended with other expelled gases, and fed back to the pilot. A normal human being in the suit can lift over his head approximately 23 tons of dead weight, travel with up to 12 tons, and drag at full speed 27 tons. The suit has an automarch feature that allows it to travel at around 60 miles per hour on foot while the user sleeps, and will automatically wake him upon enemy contact. The suit has a pair of high-intensity lights, each capable of independently producing around 15 million candelas.

4) Neutronium: The most massive of the three main varieties of sub-atomic particles (protons, electrons, neutrons) is the neutron. The neutron has a mass higher then that of a proton and an electron combined, as well as no electromagnetic charge. Neutronium is matter made up entirely of solid neutrons- no space, no waste. Neutronium is the densest material in the universe, and is the stuff that makes up the oft-mentioned "Neutron Star", which compresses the mass of an entire star into a ball smaller then the earth. Neutronium is so incredibly dense that even a small amount is nearly impossible to carry- a teaspoon-full would likely weigh more then you. As armor, it is nigh-on-invincible.

5) Tesla shield: Nikola Tesla was a brilliant engineer/inventor who lived and worked in the late 19th to early 20th centuries. He did an enormous amount of research, pioneering advances into the field of electrical engineering. The inventor patented over 112 items, including the first speedometer, the multi-phase motor (which were able to run off of alternating current- the power that currently flows into your homes and the computer on which you read this), and the original radio. Of lesser renown was his interest in the possibility of the transportation of raw electricity through the air, so as to create wireless power cords, so to speak. The Tesla shield is the logical conclusion of his research: the device surrounds the user with a field of airborne capacitance. When something enters the field, the device releases a large quantity of electricity into it; enough electricity to, as mentioned before, burn out guidance systems and vaporize metals. This is one of the powered armor's defensive systems.

6) Gravity Disrupters: Gravitons are an undetectable yet often theorized subatomic particle that is thought to be the source of gravitational effects. It is not known exactly how this works, but the common assumption is that large quantities of gravitons distort space, and that gravitons originate from large masses. Therefore, large masses distort the fabric of space in such a way as to cause the variances seen in travel paths due to gravity. The Gravity Disrupter manipulates gravitons to cause artificial concentrations to form at the points it directs, providing enough force to shift the flight path of most ballistic and/or energy-based weapons away from the target.

7) Weapons:

MA-8: The MA-8 Dirac Assault Rifle is an electromagnetically-operated anti-matter assault rifle. It is shaped like an M4 rifle, although is expanded somewhat, and weighs a good deal more. The weapon operates primarily via electromagnetic induction fields, which are able to manipulate the anti-matter rounds without allowing them to contact solid matter. Rounds are drawn from the neutral matter magazine and into the neutral matter chamber, where electromagnetic fields fling them from the barrel at extreme speed. Electromagnetic propulsion is through the same process utilized with maglev trains, although a good deal faster and smaller-scale.

MTS-8: The MTS-8 Tachyonic Sniper Rifle uses the obscure sub-atomic particle known as the 'tachyon' (from the same root as 'tachyometer', which is another word for 'speedometer') to transfer enormous amounts of energy from point to point. The tachyon is a theoretical particle believed to travel faster then the speed of light. Those of you who have not spent your early years in a small monastery in northern France will recognize that the speed of light is the theoretically highest speed possible. In order for the tachyon to travel faster then light, it is theorized to have- drum roll, please- negative mass. Now, this concept seems impossible, but it is true, as provided by numerous theories and physics equations. So, the tachyon has a base mass of lower then zero, and a base speed of higher then that of light. According to Einstein's E (Energy) = M (Mass) C ^2 (A value coincidentally equal to the speed of light - 298 thousand-odd kilometers per second- squared) equation, energy is roughly equivalent to mass. So, the tachyon particle is collected in the rifle, fed into a particle accelerator, and energy is added to the particle until it drops out of superluminous velocities. Tachyonic masses are then released from the weapon and directed to the target. Upon hitting the target, the enormous amount of energy absorbed by the tachyon is released, with usually catastrophic results, including a massive blast and release of heat and light. The target is often displeased; the firer is not.

AT-1: The Shuster Anti-Tank Weapon is designed to fire long, narrow, specially-shaped anti-matter projectiles over long distances. The projectiles have high-efficiency solid rocket boosters in their rear end, which provide a constant acceleration over the entire flight, leading to a relatively flat flight path. Upon contacting an enemy, the anti-matter reacts with the matter of the target, releasing energy equivalent to E = MC^2, or 931.5 MeV (mega-electron-volts) per gram, in a lance of pure energy around 10 meters in length and 2 meters in diameter at the widest point. The round can also be set to detonate in a spherical explosion around 4 meters in diameter.

8) Anti-matter: Anti-matter is the diametric opposite of matter. Matter is anything that has mass or takes up space- including you, me, and damn dirty commies. Anti-matter is much the same, except reversed. The concept is odd. When matter and anti-matter come together, the two annihilate each other, and both convert to pure energy. So- as your moral for the day- avoid anti-matter, unless you want to be annihilated.

***

I think that's everything that needs explaining, at least so far. If you have any other questions, feel free to ask. Should anything else complex be introduced, I'll go ahead and post an explanation within a couple of days.