Tuesday, March 19, 2013
We're running a bit low on bullets here. And I don't mean "we this camp", I mean "we the human race". You would think there are a lot of peacenik types that would appreciate that, but they were probably eaten by the reanimates, feral zoo animals, or aliens a few years ago.
Ok, I'm being melodramatic. But it is a problem we need to address. Big factories obviously aren't running, and micro-facs aren't meant for arms manufacture. The military might have built some for fabricating weapon parts or aircraft components abroad, but its not really the guns and parts that we're lacking. Kind of by nature - the whole propelling things through use of explosions - guns are well, pretty tough - you know?
If you're not an expert in the field, you might thing that nano-facs are little replicators, put in feed stock, and get anything you want. That is really not how it works.
There are several different types of micro and nano-facs (Technically, nano-facs are micro, but not always vice versa, but using the terms interchangeably is common even amongst the operators.) dedicated to different tasks - such as ones that handle cloth, and others for metal, and other for computer goods. A cloth factory could produce anything from a bikini to a three piece silk suit, but none of the pins for the tailor to custom fit them. A car oriented factory might have the means to handle nano-scale silver and platinum for catalytic converters, but they're not going to produce medicine.
Taking this a step further, there are also chemical handling factories for drugs, or material science. The aforementioned cloth factory might be able to produce bullet-proof vests, but it needs spools of high-tensile fabric made elsewhere to do so.
Yeah, yeah, I know - I lost you about three paragraphs ago/ Short version for those about to fall asleep: Most factories are too specialized or the wrong type to produce gunpowder. No nitrocellulose, no boom. Metal slugs for gauss weapons are easy enough to make, but the supra-conducting magnets that make them - that is even more difficult to forge than umm, uh...
Well, we were able to make nuclear weapons and plutonium a hundred years ago, modern rail guns only in the last twenty or so.
Don't get me wrong, micro-facs are wonderful, and retrieving parts and templates for them is some of the most valuable salvage work you can undertake. However, arms stocks have actually been fairly low priority so far compared to farming and industrial technology for running a city-state. That may change soon, and bring some city-states into conflict. You might want to be far away when that happens, I know I do.