Tuesday February 18, 2014

Note: Getting one hundred and sixteen grams of antimatter into just ten kilograms of containment takes some real doing. The usual method of trapping anti-hydrogen inside a carbon buckyball will result in a far heavier containment system, since the atomic mass of the buckyball (sixty carbon atoms) is around seven hundred and twenty times that of monatomic anti-hydrogen. 

Obviously, the solution is to trap heavier antimatter. A single anti-carbon nucleus would reduce the mass ratio between the matter and antimatter from 720:1 to 60:1, and there are heavier forms of antimatter available. This, of course, raises a security question: where did Lieutenant Pibald acquire anti-copper, or anti-sodium, or (knowing his style) anti-uranium?

Commentary: With regard to measuring the blast, it is reasonable to wonder why The Narrator said "five thousand kilotons" instead of the syllabically-simpler "five megatons." The answer lies in the demands of narrative symmetry. This strip first appeared on February 18th of 2014, making it the 5,000th daily installment of Schlock Mercenary. It's a big enough number that we just HAD to blow something up.

Book 14: Broken Wind
Part III