Ultra-Tech: TST ChemRail

Para uso único Asgari. [For Asgari Use Only.]

‒ User label of the TST ChemRail

Elysium (2013) is one of the more credible attempts at a cyberpunk film, even though many concepts of that genre are so 1980s. Perhaps to make up for this, the film is set in the much more distant future, the year 2154. Nevertheless it features many of the typical cyberpunk tropes, such as the juxtaposition of the sprawling masses and the filthy rich, the wonky cyber gear including datajacks and exoskeletons, the almost instantaneous computer hacking, an orbit community, etc.

And of course it has the weaponry, a mix of the antique – a katana (if that is not taken straight from Shadowrun’s street samurai then it is an incredible coincidence …), an Izhmash AKM assault rifle, and a Remington Model 870 pump-action shotgun, both with homing rounds – and the ultra-modern – Cousar Crowe storm carbines with ETC ammunition and 4Sure manportable ground-to-space multiple missile launchers.

The most fun, if not the most realistic, weapon featured in the film is the TST ChemRail Dual-Stage Linear Motor Rifle (LMR) – a variant of the portable rail gun (GURPS Ultra-Tech, p. 141).

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Tactical Shooting: The Sopranos at 20

What the fuck? I got him, didn’t I? Maybe he’s stunned?

– Peter Paul “Paulie Walnuts” Gualtieri in The Sopranos #3.11 “Pine Barrens” (2001)

I love The Sopranos (1999-2007); it is simply one of the best telly series ever. I have already looked at a shootout in the first season. Here is another one from the third season, set 20 years ago, examined using GURPS Tactical Shooting.

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Tactical Shooting: El Camino ‒ A Breaking Bad Movie

“Your .22, against my .45. Winner takes all.”

“Like the Wild West?”

“Yeah. Like the Wild West.”

‒ Neil Kandy and Jesse Pinkman in El Camino A Breaking Bad Movie

 

El Camino ‒ A Breaking Bad Movie (2019) is set immediately after the end of the last episode of the highly enjoyable series Breaking Bad. It features an interesting shootout which I examine here in GURPS terms, specifically using GURPS Tactical Shooting.

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High-Tech: Caseless Ammunition and the H&K G11, MP11, and MG11

The streamlined plastic butt of an H&K didn’t exactly hurt, either, and Rydell could see one peeking out of Svobodov’s open flak vest. Couldn’t remember the model number … Shot that caseless ammo looked like wax crayons, plastic propellant molded around alloy flechettes like big nails … Orlovsky was pulling out his H&K … Nothing in the world ever sounded like caseless ammunition, on full-auto, out of a floating breech. It wasn’t the sound of a machine gun, but a kind of ear-shattering, extended whoop.

– William Gibson, Virtual Light (set in 2005)

Ever since the 1980s and for much of the 1990s we have been promised caseless ammunition and the advanced weapons firing them. If not now, then very soon. Science-fiction authors and designers of games like Cyberpunk 2020, Shadowrun, and Twilight: 2000 were positive that we would see them in the immediate future. Even industry authorities were taken in by the hype. Master Gunner Ian Hogg claimed in Jane’s Infantry Weapons, 17th Edition (1991) that the famous H&K G11 assault rifle and its 4.73×33mm caseless ammunition were in production and had already been issued to West German “special forces” in 1990 ‒ when in fact the rifle actually never entered production and furthermore the Bundeswehr had no such forces at the time, unless one counts the tiny Kampfschwimmer (combat diver) and Fernspäher (long range recon) units. Similarly, Sergeant Kevin Dockery erroneously reported in his appropriately titled book Future Weapons (2007) that at least 1,000 G11 rifles had been produced …

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Tactical Shooting: Mission: Impossible ‒ Fallout

Christopher McQuarrie’s Mission: Impossible ‒ Fallout (2018) is the latest instalment in the somewhat tired but still fun Mission: Impossible franchise. The highly cinematic films are prime examples for GURPS Action scenarios. Nevertheless much of the shooting is actually reasonably realistic. I take a look at a short scene in which IMF Agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) shows off his gunfighting skills, and analyze how it would play out in GURPS terms, specifically using GURPS Tactical Shooting.

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Investigator Weapons: Charles Reber, Armed Investigator?

In the 1930s, Charles Reber, a US Army veteran of the Spanish-American War and an ex-Major with the Oklahoma National Guard, was a pioneer ballistics and fingerprint expert with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation & Identification, who consulted on numerous cases.

This alone would make him an interesting example for an Investigator of the Mythos. During the hunt for Charles “Pretty Boy” Floyd, he was also painted as a template for an Armed Investigator in newspaper articles like “One-Man Army Rigs Auto for Sudden Battle” in The Fresno Bee (08-JUN-1934):

Though he looks like a staid schoolteacher [!], is quite and unassuming, Reber is as expert with a gun as with his ballistics apparatus … Inside his sedan he has rigged out a rolling arsenal. By reaching up with his left hand he can pull a sawed-off shotgun, loaded with buckshot, from a rack in the car. With his right hand he can claw down a Browning automatic rifle. Reaching forward he can pull a Thompson sub-machine gun from a rack on the dash of the car, where it is flanked by holders containing clips [sic] of ammunition. In the seat with him he can reach a Colt .45 automatic or a long-range German Luger automatic of smaller caliber, but deadly accuracy. On the floor, in a case, he can reach hand grenades, [tear] gas bombs and extra clips [sic] of ammunition ‒ shotgun shells, high power rifle cartridges and pistol ammunition, all carefully arranged to be “handy.” In the back seat, for long range work, he has an old Krag-Jorgensen [sic] army rifle, made famous in the Spanish-American war for its deadliness. Its sights are carefully adjusted, with wind gauge, elevation, and important other arrangements. Continue reading “Investigator Weapons: Charles Reber, Armed Investigator?”

At the Movies: Sicario

Kate, this isn’t something that I dreamed up myself. I don’t have the authority to hire advisors, or authorize joint agency missions, or fly agents from Air Force bases. Are you understanding me? These decisions are made far from here, by officials elected to office, not appointed to them. So, if your fear is operating out of bounds, I am telling you, you are not. The boundary’s been moved.

‒ FBI Special Agent in Charge Dave Jennings in Sicario (2015)

This is a film review of Denis Villeneuve’s Sicario (2015) with an eye towards using it in Delta Green: The Role-Playing Game.

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Tactical Shooting: Public Enemies

Gentlemen, shortly you will be provided Thompson submachine guns, BARs, and uh, .351 Winchester semiautomatic rifles. We are pursuing hardened killers. It will be dangerous.

– Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Melvin Purvis in Public Enemies (2009)

Michael Mann’s Public Enemies (2009) is but the latest effort to bring the life of infamous bank robber John “Johnnie” Dillinger on the silver screen. It follows his exploits between autumn 1933 and summer 1934, but really concentrates on his affair with gun moll M. Evelyn “Billie” Frechette. As in many other Mann movies, the law enforcement side receives almost equal attention, here in the shape of Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Melvin Purvis. While Mann undertook extraordinary effort to bring the time to life through clothing, automobiles, firearms, and locations, he stuck less rigidly to the historical facts, including the timeline. Events have been moved forward or backward, people have been omitted or changed, etc. It has to be understood that Public Enemies is not really a historical film at all, unlike Bryan Burrough’s meticulously researched book Public Enemies (2004), on which it is based. It is still an excellent movie, not the least because of its awesome score and of course its actors, including Johnny Depp as Dillinger, Christian Bale as Purvis, and Stephen Graham as “Baby Face Nelson.”

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