What should I work on next?

08 November 2013

Popular Mechanicks, Issue #8

Otto Maton's "BS" Alloy

   If you've been reading our paper for some time now, you may be familiar with the diabolical maechanickal works of Herr Doktor Professor Otto Maton, the Belgian Mad Scientist on Mars. His fiendish creations have often graced these pages, and wreaked havoc upon the peaceful peoples of the Crown Colony of Mars. For some reason, Herr Doktor has a particular dislike of the British. It probably has something to do with the fact that a British aethership disabled his vessel on approach to Mars, and trapped him there.

   However, if you have seen Maton's handiwork, you must have noticed the preponderance of brass used in their manufacture. This may lead one to ask oneself "Why brass, for God's sake? It's either too soft or too brittle, depending on the zinc content! And heavy? Not half!" The problem with your complaint is one of perception. While Maton's brass may seem to be perfectly ordinary alpha-beta brass (consisting of more than 35% zinc), it is not. In fact, Professor Maton has created a special alloy of brass which, though it requires hot working, is equal to fine steel in strength, and immune to rusting. He calls the alloy Brassified Steel, or "BS."

Maton's Foundry, in an Undisclosed Location

   BS is not a perfect metal for all applications. Its manufacture is a closely guarded secret of Maton's. After all. It is known to contain traces of certain rare elements not found in common brass including cerium (Ce), aluminum (Al), gadolinium (Gd), and handwavium (Hw). While it possesses impressive qualities, the expense of its manufacture limits its use. Plus, no one knows how to get these elements to alloy other than Maton himself, and perhaps one or two of his most trusted lieutenants.

   And an older photostat, from an after action report, for those of you newer to this journal. In it you can see a trio of Doctor Maton's flying automatons attacking a Martian Death Ray cavalry officer. In the background, far below, a column of another sort of automaton is marching across the red sands. Notice the outer shells of BS on both models. Like all of Maton's mechanickal devices, these are powered by handwavium reactors. The flying "hovertons" also utilize unobtainite crystals to repulse gravity.

[Editor's Note: It's been a while since I posted an article feature, and this is one I have considered more than once. Why do I use so much brass? Really, it's because it just looks warm and Victorian to me. Popular Mechanicks is one way of explaining away all of the Weird Science that goes on in my VSF universe with pseudo-scientific terminology. The real reason for any of the VSF silliness that I indulge in is much simpler: I like it. Now, back to studying Charlemagne. ZZZzzz...]


DeanM said...

Awesome looking flying (er hover) craft. Best, Dean

DLI said...

What a spiffing way of explaining a love for painting brass (I weakness I share ;) )on lots of VSF things.

J Womack, Esq. said...

I enjoy coming up with the pseudo-science. Its fun.

Eli Arndt said...

Always loved those sky rays. I even did a few in 2mm for my Land Ironclads Martian army.