The Long Combination Vehicle is not a new concoction, but rather a repurposing of a rather old one. The original LCV was created from a heavy hauler or tractor truck pulling a large number of trailers behind it. This was done in areas where large amounts of cargo needed to be moved, and there was not existing infrastructure such as roads and rail lines, and the cargo was either excessive for airlifting, or not urgent enough for airlift. Thus, a large trackless train would work fine, being the economical choice for the job. Following the Resource Wars, and the steady decline of civil infrastructure during the Second Dark Age, improvised LCVs were created from tractor trailers and multiple trailers, creating convoys of trucks pulling 3-4 trailers at a time. This would eventually be phased out as the roads continued to deteriorate, the fuel supply dwindled, and demand for overland transport likewise dried up.
Mars or Seng Chiu
The colonization of Mars re-opened the door for the LCV. The Red Planet would be expensive to criss-cross with rail lines, and the thin atmosphere didn't lend itself to the heavy lift airships (aka zeppelins) that slowly took over non-vital cargo hauling on Earth. The contentious and sometimes violent nature of the red planet also left many conventional transportation solutions vulnerable. Miners and surveyors feared bandits, travelers did as well. The Chinese government lacked the resources to mount large patrols to sniff out and destroy these bandit camps except for when they became too bold, or crossed the line one too many times. Most of their forces were instead clustered around protecting vital facilities, and keeping the ground forces of the Eurasian Alliance and other non-ACPS forces in check.
The Mighy Ku
The Ku is the most common LCV on Seng Chiu/Mars, and there are several hundred of them in operation. The Ku consists of a 3 compartment Engine, and it can pull up to 3800 Martian tons (10,000 Terran tons) worth of trailers.
The Engine - the engine of the Ku consists of a command section, a crew section, and a generator section. The Command section of the Ku is in the front, and has a 'bridge' large enough for the 4 person crew to operate and observe the LCV. This includes a communications officer, a pair of drivers, and a captain/navigator. The communications officer often has access to hull mounted cameras, and a handful of spotter/observer drones that allow them to scout ahead. The generator section in the middle of the engine houses the powerplant of the vehicle. Most Chinese build LCVs have a pocket fusion reactor and several banks of batteries. The crew compartment has room for 13 crewmen. The normal LCV on a haul will have at least 2 full crews who will drive the vehicle in 8-10 hour shifts, and some will have 3 and run 6-8 hour shifts. The crew area has a tiny galley, bunk space, and a supply locker. To prevent defection or surrender, the Ku engine doesn't have an airlock and the crew is not supplied with anything other than emergency breathers, in case the environmental seal is compromised. The only place for the crew to safely disembark is at a proper transport depot, or through a mobile airlock rescue vehicle.
The Drive - the Ku has a robust electric motor attached to each drive axle. The Engine section has ten axles and ten motors giving it a large amount of torque. Likewise, the trailers the Ku pulls are tied into the powerplant and have their own motors. Each trailer, themselves having two to four axles, will have motors on half of those. Trailers expected to carry heavier loads can have full power, a motor on each axle. These are typically military or armored, rather than cargo haulers.
Tires - The Ku has large neo-plastic tires. These are almost four feet across, and a foot and a half wide. They are several inches thick, and have variable pressure technology, allowing them to be inflated or deflated as needed. The trailers have the same type of wheels.
Also called cars, the LCV has a modular trailer system, where trailers of uniform length and standardized connectors, can be linked together to make the 'train'. There are a large number of types of trailers, and these can be grouped in civilian, commercial, and military use.
Civilian Trailers - one of the more romantic notions is traveling across the red planet in a passenger LCV. Civilian trailers include the standard fare of bus style seating cars, to the more expensive travel cabin car. The first seats 40, with minimal support. The later seats 12 with generous support. There are a large number of sundry civilian cars including 'cantina' style galley/bar facilities, sleeper cars, kitchen and dining cars, baggage cars, and so forth. It is very common for these types of civilian vehicles to have connected trailers so that passengers and LCV crew (outside of the isolated engine crew) can travel through the vehicle. This is the most common mode of terrestrial transport on the planet.
One of the dirty secrets of the civilian LCVs is the abominable lack of security and emergency features. In case of an accident or emergency, the average civilian LCV has approximately 4-6 hours of back-up air supply. This can be radically depleted if any of the trailers has a seal breach, and many LCVs in operation do. The prevalence of air leaks is so common that most people assume that the vehicles are supposed to whistle. This is a constant battle between vibration stress, repair crews and sealant guns, and the use of air scrubbers to recycle as much air as possible. If an LCV is stranded, or a trailer is seriously breached, there are only a handful of emergency breathers on the vehicle, and these are generally stolen by the members of the crew.
Commercial Trailers - most commonly are either bulk cargo containers, or enclosed box containers. Most bandits are raiders won't mess with a bulk cargo hauler, their loads of ore, gravel, salt, and ice are generally not worth stealing. Box containers prove a more interesting target. Those might actually be carrying goods such as food, water, clothing, or other sundries. These trailers are open to the Martian atmosphere, and generally have no crew of any sort.
Military Trailers - the most common military trailers are troop transports, vehicle transports, and combat cars. Troop transports move soldiers, but have two airlocks, and facilities for the soldiers to fire their weapons from the trailer. These are commonly attached behind the engine section of most LCVs in potentially dangerous transit routs, to protect the vehicle and its cargo. Vehicle transports move military equipment. Given its valuable nature, it is common for such vehicles to be moved with crews in them so that they cannot be stolen. Combat cars are trailers that have their own power supply and have the ability to fight and move under their own power. The most common combat car is an armored version of a troop trailer with four gun sponsons, two on each side, and a top mounted turret. Others include drone and missile launchers, and power armor troop carriers.
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? Responses (2)
4.5/5 Very nice fluff piece that could lead to many uses 'Murder on the Mars Express'
Hmm, a Damnation Alley type scenario on Mars would be very interesting. So, Mad Max meets Total Recall (Arnie version).