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Old 11-04-2017, 01:37 PM   #561
Prince Charon
 
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Default Re: Five Earths, All in a Row

Quote:
Originally Posted by Apollonian View Post
Several incidents of body-swapping, which are mostly resolved without lasting harm.
Thank you, Apollonian.

Also noting in the timeline that it was your idea.

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Originally Posted by tshiggins View Post
I like this, and it makes for an amusing and effective contrast with the other, more horrible, events.
Oh, yes. A bit jarring, but in a good way.
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Five Earths, All in a Row. Updated 4/06/2018: United States Department of Extraordinary Operations, Uniformed Division has been posted.

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Old 11-04-2017, 07:31 PM   #562
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I just realized but regarding your superscience drives here, how big of a mass limit do they have for expeditionsry work?

I remember there were lots of discussions regarding how much could be taken over for either military or civilian purposes but was it a lot or a little?
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Old 11-06-2017, 07:59 AM   #563
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Originally Posted by warellis View Post
I just realized but regarding your superscience drives here, how big of a mass limit do they have for expeditionsry work?

I remember there were lots of discussions regarding how much could be taken over for either military or civilian purposes but was it a lot or a little?
In large part, it's a matter of how much mass the airframe/spaceframe can carry, remembering that the bigger the magic item (or assembly of magic items) the more time/effort is needed to make it work. The more time passes, the more aircraft are converted to spacecraft, and the more new, dedicated spacecraft and aerospacecraft become ready for use. 'No jam today, a little jam tomorrow, a lot of jam the week after next,' so to speak (time units given should be taken as severe understatements). As noted by tshiggins in Craftsmen, the number of spacecraft available to Inp-USA alone doubles every four months, and that's just what Stp-USA knows about - that number will fluctuate a fair bit as the USSF runs out of older aircraft to convert, and construction of new, purpose-built spacecraft starts ramping up.

By the end of WWII(2), convoys between Earth-1 and Earth-2 will be going back and forth at about the same rate as between the US and UK in our WWII, if not more so (and getting raided by the Axis forces something like as often). As it is, the third Earth-1 expedition to Earth-2 will probably leave Earth-1 orbit before the second (launched in June or July) starts the return journey from Earth-2.

On an unrelated note, a bit of dialogue that might be used at some point:

"It'll all be over by Christmas, you'll see."

"I'm sure it will, but I highly doubt that it will be this Christmas."
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Five Earths, All in a Row. Updated 4/06/2018: United States Department of Extraordinary Operations, Uniformed Division has been posted.

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Old 02-19-2018, 01:17 PM   #564
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Speed Bump

June 26, 2013
South Florida
Earth One (Infopunk Earth)


The general attitude of local and regional police personnel in the USA(1) towards superheroes, even those of us affiliated with licensed NGOs, tends to fall into four main categories:

1. 'We don't need you freaks.'

2. 'We don't want you freaks, but we need you to deal with those other freaks.'

3. 'We need all the help we can get, even if the help is a little (or a lot) freaky.'

4. 'I don't like the way people call you guys freaks, but you need more training.'

The second and third sometimes overlap with an attitude toward a few individual supers of 'You may be a freak, but you're our freak.' The situation can perhaps be likened to that experienced by any newly-arriving ethnic group, but is clearly not a perfect match - we come from all ethnicities, creeds, social strata, and walks of life, after all (though this doesn't stop some of the people who got their powers from reading too many X-Men comics from pulling the 'mutant race' card all the damn time). At least the first and second attitudes have mostly disappeared since I woke up after the failed attack on Yellowstone, but the cost is painful; a lot of Lanterns and other psykers died, or have yet to wake up. Some of the rings seem to have burnt out, but a lot of others went looking for replacements, which means we have a surge of rookies, on top of most of the 'experienced' surviving Lanterns being still in training, ourselves. At least those of us who joined the NGOs are getting training, and not running out to 'fight crime' with no idea what we're doing, and mostly making things harder for the cops (which the rest of us get flack for).

A related issue is that most superheroes, even the ones who are cops already, are more than a little idealistic (though far from saintly), rightly viewing the Blue Wall of Silence as a betrayal of the badge, and of the public trust. (The fact that so many of us are so idealistic, even if we're cynical in other areas, is something that a number of us wonder about. There's been talk of 'genre fairies' shaping our lives, which worries me. Are powered criminals being chosen for their criminal tendencies, or are they being compelled...?)

The point of all this reminiscing was to aid my multitasking skills and avoid thinking about my fear of heights (or rather, fear of decelleration trauma) as I hovered thirty feet above a retention pond, held up by sheer willpower... and a glowing green ring that had once been a common plastic toy that I bought on a whim some years ago. A few months ago, I would have made a fairly shocking sight: a flying man shrouded in an aura of translucent green flames, wearing mostly green and black US Army surplus riot armour, complete with three chevrons on each upper sleeve, a modified gas mask, a helmet, a utility belt, and an eccentric choice of sidearm (a S&W Governor, the only six-shot revolver I could find that would load and fire .410 bore shotgun shells - it could also handle .45 Long Colt, and .45 ACP with a moon clip, but I carried neither). Now, I still looked pretty odd for a Lantern (more of us tended to go more for spandex than body armour, or holograms over street clothes, despite many having colours or materials that our rings don't want to work on - a fact well-known to the criminal element, even if most of them only remember yellow), but thanks to so many of us flying around on the news, I wasn't completely bizarre.

The Bluetooth rang while I was starting to contemplate the view. "Hello?"

"Sorry to interrupt your break, Decurion," said Kelli-with-an-i, our duty dispatcher (I almost corrected her on the rank, the promotion too new, and the reason too raw), "but the cops need a little help: that speedster from yesterday is back, he robbed a RaceTrac this time. They're in pursuit, but he keeps going places cars and motorbikes can't. I'm sending the map data to your HUD, you're the closest flyer to the action."

Well then, my first supervillain (no, Dr. Implausible does not count - as a supervillain or a doctor - and the 'Rouge Angles of Satin' (yes, spelled like that) would not have been that much of a threat to the out-of-shape nerd I was before I got my powers). No partner either, because the politicians wanted maximum exposure to 'reassure the public,' and there just weren't enough of use to go around (also, possibly, they wanted to exercise their 'soft power' over us, to reassure themselves that they still could). "Understood," I replied, looking at the map. "Going to jet mode."

'Jet mode' was what you might call a macro that I'd programmed into my ring: as I shifted to horizontal flight with my arms to my sides, the ring projected a construct around me in the form of a 1/6th scale (a bit over 3 metres long) F-15 Eagle. In much dimmer light than this, you'd be able to see large, distorted cones attached to the air intakes, which swept moisture from the humid Florida air. Behind the intakes, the ring split hydrogen from oxygen, and behind my feet, electrical sparks and a construct catalyst energetically converted the hydrogen and oxygen back into water, while the other air brought in cooled the exhaust. Construct prisms on my helmet allowed me to see ahead with half my vision, and below with the other half. This complex action allowed me to fly higher and faster than I could under my own willpower, oddly enough, though I'm not sure whether it's due to my phobia, or my will not being strong enough. I suppose it could be both. I'm far from the only one who did this: many lanterns can't fly without a construct, whether due to mental blocks or insufficient willpower, and more cannot fly under their own power at all (though few of the latter join crime-fighting NGOs as active agents, since they tend to have weak shields and other effects, as well).

It didn't take more than a couple of minutes to reach the target area, and I saw a streak of yellow dart out between two buildings. "Ring, scan and record."

"Scanning," the ring replied, and information poured into my mind. Much to my surprise, he was a living person using his power to reinforce his body to move at greater speeds - in this case about 42 miles per hour, which seemed to be close to his top speed. It also appeared likely that he would be able to heal and recover faster, and based on yesterday's police report, hitting him with a taser just made him faster. I'd been expecting a spirit with psychokinesis, or a visible astral projection like Bluestreak in Orlando, because physical speedsters are rare. For a moment I was distracted consider the implications, but shook myself out of it. Capture bad guy now, I thought, figure out how to replicate what he does later.

Catching speedsters is generally pretty tricky, because they almost always react faster than non-speedsters - otherwise they'd keep tripping over or running into things. So, while seeing him was useful, I needed to know where he was going to be, and how he would to react. I've got two ways to 'trick' my semi-randomly activating Second Sight into acting like directed precognition. The slow way, with Tarot cards, is useless in situations like that, but the fast way, using just the ring, leaves me feeling like I've run a marathon, which is not good in flight. I reinforced the hover effect that supplements my construct's wings at low speed, and concentrated...
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Five Earths, All in a Row. Updated 4/06/2018: United States Department of Extraordinary Operations, Uniformed Division has been posted.

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Old 02-19-2018, 01:18 PM   #565
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I almost fell out of the sky anyway, catching myself a few feet above a street lamp, but I got what I needed. Moving in closer, before he could reach the stand of woods he seems to be heading for, a put up an arching wall in front of him. Naturally, he immediately ran straight up the wall, straight into a forming bubble. We'd speculated about how to capture speedsters before, and the idea of them running around the inside of a force-bubble to escape via centrifugal force had come up, so I made the bubble freely rotating to prevent that, and added a second bubble just outside of it, to protect anyone from touching the first bubble before he calmed down. Instead of trying that, though, he seemed to fall forward, catching himself on his hands, and appeared to make a few dozen attempts to punch his way out.

To minimize distraction while trying to maintain the bubble against this assault, I came in for a landing next to it, folding and dismissing the mini F-15 construct with a five-tone harmonic buzz-crunch that would be familiar to most people who were kids in America in the 1980s. I pinged the cops with our GPS coordinates while I caught my breath, and it wasn't long after that that the guy calmed down enough that I got a good look at him. I was not impressed:

Starting at the top, he wore a yellow ski mask which had been unevenly cut away around the nose, mouth, and chin, and there were red designs embroidered over his ears that might be either wings or lightning bolts, or could be something totally other. Below that, he wore a yellow 'Members Only' jacket with the tag torn off, and a red lightning bolt on a white roundel on the pocket. He also had on a half-open yellow messenger backpack, a pair of yellow rubber dishwashing gloves, yellow trousers with a red canvas belt, and yellow converse all stars.

"This is what is known as a citizen's arrest, in case you were wondering," I told him, as I heard the sirens rapidly approaching. He gave a fast, high-pitched reply that I was unable to parse. Luckily, while my ring does not permanently record everything without orders, it does hold things in a buffer for a few minutes. "Ring, play back what he just said at, I guess, one-third speed."

"How are you doing this!? You're a Green Lantern I'm wearing yellow this shouldn't work!"

"Real life," I replied, "is not a comic book. Ring, play that back for him at three times speed." Not like I was going to tell him what my actual weakness was. That's about when the cops arrived, lead by Sergeant Jameson, one of the more OK cops I've worked with.

"Good catch," said Jameson, getting out of his car.

"Thank you," I replied. "He seems to be unable to slow down, or perhaps just unwilling, so his lawyer may insist on concessions relating to that."

"Great," he sighed, "just what we need." Glancing at the cops getting out of the other car, he glared at the younger one and shouted "Put that damn taser away, didn't you read the report!?" I hadn't even noticed, being a bit more focused on maintaining the two force bubbles. After a few seconds, he said "OK, you can do that thing with the bubble."

'That thing' was to shrink and deform the inner bubble such that it almost took on the shape of the contents, then open holes in it, and finally take on the form of handcuffs with a gradually-shrinking chain, to pull his hand behind his back. I then allowed the outer bubble to dissipate. Jameson then put actual cuffs on the thief, and pulled his mask off.

"Hang on, I know this guy," said the sergeant. "Danny Whithammer. I busted him a few times for dine-and-dash, purse snatching, convenience store robbery... always 'steal something and run,' ain't that right, Danny?" That... was a potentially interesting data point.



With thanks to ilbgar on Spacebattles.com for the title.

Character Notes: I'm not currently planning to create full GURPS character sheets for these characters (for one thing, I don't really think I could create an unbiased version of myself), but some general descriptions of their powers seem appropriate, for anyone who is interested. These were written for people on other forums, so you may find some of the information herein redundant:

The 'me' seen here would be rather less powerful without his gadgets: Along with Active Thoughtform Creation and a few related skills, he has what many call Second Sight, which includes precognitive visions, retrocognitive flashbacks, and the ability to see and communicate with spirits, but he has no conscious control of when his Second Sight activates, nor which power comes up, without using his gadgets, and/or an appropriate ritual.

His power ring, like most such rings, is more of an aid to spellcasting than the universal multi-tool and Ultimate Weapon depicted in the comics. It has a few spells built in, and allows him to cast them and others near-instantly (Path/Book Adept 4), rather than needing a lengthy ritual in a prepared space with various appropriate symbols and items set out. The ring has a pretty limited virtual intelligence, but some power rings don't even have that. On the bright side, he doesn't need a battery to recharge the ring, he just needs to recite his oath at least once every twenty-four hours. He also has a deck of Mage: the Ascension tarot cards, which make information-gathering rituals easier and faster, and a 'TARDIS key' pendent, which he suspects is still being enchanted by the spirits; so far, it just seems to make time and space related effects slightly easier.

His armour and other equipment are just barely magical at this time, only having spirits tuned to keep other spirits from messing with them.

~*~*~*~

The 'Reverse Flash' depicted here has a normal running speed of 7 yards per second, or 14 miles per hour, but also has Altered Time Rate (Biokinesis, -10%) 2, which triples (not doubles) his speed of thought, reflex, and movement. He also has Damage Resistance (Absorption, Heals Only, +80%; Biokinesis, -10%; Electricity Only, -40%) 6, which allows him to absorb electrical attacks and use them heal himself - in the undepicted fight from the day before, he did not so much boost his speed directly, as remove the tiredness and strain he got from pushing himself to move faster. He also has Regeneration (Slow; Biokinesis, -10%), meaning he heals faster than normal anyway, Fatigue Regeneration (Fast; Biokinesis, -10%), meaning he recovers from being tired faster, and Recovery (Biokinesis, -10%), meaning he wakes up from being knocked out much sooner. In GURPS terms, he's probably the most expensive character here, but as GURPS is a simulationist system, that does not automatically mean that he can't be beaten by someone built on far fewer points (mind you, that can also happen in D&D, if you roll badly enough, just as it can in real life, if you're unlucky, stupid, or both). For all this, though, he's still a small-time crook, with the intelligence, imagination, ambition, and habits thereof. Mind you, he'll meet smarter crooks in prison...

~*~*~*~

Bluestreak is, as noted in the text, and astral projector, though an unusual one, in that she has to concentrate to turn her astral body invisible to the material world. Otherwise, she looks like an attractive, nude woman, with sky blue skin and dark blue hair (her physical body looks fairly similar, save for not being blue, and normally being clothed in pubic; her face is slightly different, though still attractive). Bluestreak has Enhanced Time Sense (Astral Projection, -10%; Only in astral body, -20%), meaning that she thinks much faster than most people, and Astral Celerity (Nuisance Effect: Must run, -5%) 4, meaning that her astral body moves very fast (about 28 yards per second, or a little less than a mile a minute). She's also a decently powerful and skilled psychokinetic, having Telekinetic Control (Melee Attack, C, -30%; Only in astral body, -20%) 12, meaning that her astral body is a bit stronger than her physical body, but must still 'touch' objects and living things to affect them.

~*~*~*~

I've been thinking of leaving either Dr. Implausible or the Rouge Angles of Satin as Noodle Incidents, but I could probably come up with some detail on them if there's interest.


Thoughts?
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Five Earths, All in a Row. Updated 4/06/2018: United States Department of Extraordinary Operations, Uniformed Division has been posted.

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Old 02-19-2018, 08:52 PM   #566
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prince Charon View Post

(SNIP)

Thoughts?
Pretty fun, and a plausible story given the range of powers you've described most people as having. I knew you liked the lanterns, given how much you've written about them, but I didn't know you liked 'em that much. :)
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Old 02-20-2018, 06:37 PM   #567
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Pretty fun, and a plausible story given the range of powers you've described most people as having. I knew you liked the lanterns, given how much you've written about them, but I didn't know you liked 'em that much. :)
Thanks. Part of it is my being a Lantern fan, and part of it is 'OK, what things do I have that the spirits might decide to empower, in this scenario?' The items mentioned in the Character Notes section are all things that I already had in my room, or wore (and still wear) regularly, before I started writing Five Earths. I've even used the tarot cards for game ideas, a little, or used the ring or the pendent as a worry-stone.

BTW, I've edited another link into the story, because not everyone is enough of a gun-geek to have ever heard of a moon clip (and someone on AH.com corrected it to 'magazine,' which would actually be wrong in context).
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Old 02-21-2018, 11:42 PM   #568
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Thanks. Part of it is my being a Lantern fan, and part of it is 'OK, what things do I have that the spirits might decide to empower, in this scenario?' The items mentioned in the Character Notes section are all things that I already had in my room, or wore (and still wear) regularly, before I started writing Five Earths. I've even used the tarot cards for game ideas, a little, or used the ring or the pendent as a worry-stone.
OK, it's been long enough that this clarification/expansion needs to be a separate post instead of an edit: Basically, what powers and empowered items you get are not purely 'this is what you are most a fan of' or 'this is what you are most known for (if you're a writer/actor, et cetra).' As noted above, it's also a matter of opportunity, as well as what the spirits find interesting about you. So, someone who is a casual Star Trek fan who nonetheless has a Star Fleet uniform or other prop or props that he or she treasures for unrelated reasons is fairly likely to get Treknology-related enchanting skills, and/or empowered items, and if that same person has a good poker face and uses it a fair bit, might end up a Vulcan, even if they're a bigger fan of Babylon 5 - as long as their specific interest in B5 doesn't contain anything that the particular spirits that noticed them though would be amusing/interesting (which isn't to say that they would not get anything from B5, like mixing Vulcan and B5 telepathy, or gaining a working Ranger fighting pike, or Technomage skills). They would not get powers from a franchise that they don't already like, though, nor would someone start becoming a type of alien/fantasy being that they would object to becoming.
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Old 03-03-2018, 06:16 PM   #569
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Here's a new information post (with thanks to tshiggins):

On Supervillain Psychology and Behavior

Edited by tshiggins

http://i.imgur.com/rlSj34H.jpg

Super-villains often have no interest in inventions that allow them to retire rich, because they're crazy. They want to accomplish their goals, they don't care to explain how they do so, and even if they did, it would only generate opposition.

The young Lex Luthor on Earth-2 has no problem cashing checks as a rich businessman who doesn't get sent to prison all the time. For his father, though, the wealth isn't the ends, it's the means. He wants to gain power by force, not because he helped the masses, or convinced them to vote for him.

Luthor, Sr., wants to prove his superiority over the common man, prove himself beyond the 'petty laws' of 'lesser intellects,' to prove himself the true Nietzschen Superman. That's the reason for his unceasing hatred of Kal'El, and explains the elder Luthor's pathological need to defeat the Kryptonian.

Really, he's kind of a dick.

A lot of super-villains match Luthor's pathology. Motivations other than lust for money or power drive the actions of many, and some just experience mad compulsions ('must leave riddles at every crime scene with clues to the next crime, the nature of this crime wave, or similar;' 'must kill someone every new moon;' or, 'must defeat the Flash').

The desire for wealth does drive the motivations of some who experience self-esteem issues (or other mental problems) that render them unable to accept that they could acquire money and/or political power legally. Any of those enhanced by thought-form spirits who started out as criminals tend to acquire abilities that enhance their existing modus operandi.

Some on Earth-2, and especially "super-villains" on Earth-1, just want to have fun, and tend to ham it up, but actually commit relatively minor crimes. Some of those will even help the heroes, if more lethal villains start serious trouble.

Others may feel a compulsion to act like a super-villain, or to commit crimes in costume, but without any more specific urges. These "super-villains" may share traits with their more lighthearted colleagues, especially if they don't otherwise have criminal tendencies.

Some may obsess over a particular hero, and express that fascination in disturbing ways. In other words, they qualify as "super-stalkers" rather than "super-villains" and may not want to specifically defeat a particular hero.

The great majority of supervillains on Earth-1 and Earth-2 already had serious mental issues (or, at least, criminal tendencies) even before powers manifested strongly enough to allow them to commit significant crimes. The spirits find it far easier to grant new skills and powers to those already inclined to use them, than to impose new personality traits on those who don't have them.

It is in fact extremely rare for a spirit to try to force a generally sane, generally law-abiding person to become a super criminal. Indeed, it may never happen.

That said, some spirits do strengthen or weaken anti-social or criminal tendencies people already possess, but keep under control -- or, at least, concealed. After all, that sort of self-discipline offers lots of benefits in most civilized areas, in that it keeps them out of jail.

However, it also means that, to other people not aware of the existence of those tendencies, it can certainly seem that affliction by the spirits "changed" someone.

With great insanity, comes great power -- so long as the spirits believe the combination of insanity with power will make someone interesting.


Thoughts?
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Old 04-06-2018, 07:02 PM   #570
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Stp-British military aeronef classifications

'Aeronef' is a French word for 'aircraft' that has made its way into most of the Western-European languages of Earth-3. It is somewhat debatable whether it applies to all aerial vessels, or only to heavier-than-air craft, but the British military establishment uses it to refer to any vehicle designed to fly through the air while carrying people, that is not intended to go into space (the latter being an astronef).

British Army (Royal Regiment of Aviation)

A (Assault): Bombers
B (Balloon): Lighter-than-air vehicles
C (Charger): Fighters
F (Freight): Cargo vehicles
S (Scout): Reconnaissance/Observation aircraft
T (Test): Experimental aircraft

For example, the Hale F-4 Elephant, a biplane cargo-glider a few feet shorter than a B-17 Flying Fortress (making it the largest glider in mass production on Earth-3), with longer wings and a cluster of liquid-fuel rockets in the tail. From 1877(3) to 1879(3), the design was still experimental, and was thus designated TF-4.


Royal Navy (primarily the Glider Service)

B (Balloon): Lighter-than-air vehicles
C (Cargo): Freight carriers
E (Experiment): Experimental aircraft
H (Hunter): Fighters
S (Scout): Reconnaissance/Observation aircraft
T (Torpedo): Bombers

For example, the Saunders H-7 Tercel, the former interceptor of choice of the Glider Service, Royal Navy. A two-man glider with a gatling gun in the nose, and a series of solid rocket boosters along the wings. These boosters were designed to fire in pairs; firing errors resulted in a number of crashes, and the replacement of this craft in 1876(3) with the Congreve H-9 Gyrfalcon, which uses a pair of liquid-fuel rocket boosters.


While balloons and dirigibles operated by the British Army are part of the Army's Royal Regiment of Aviation by default, those owned by the Royal Navy are not automatically part of the Glider Service, unless used to launch gliders. Many battleships and cruisers are equipped with observation balloons, for example, or number balloon tenders among their escorts.

Neither the British army nor the Royal Navy employ dedicated personnel transport ('passenger') gliders, preferring dirigibles for that role, though some glider/rocket companies are experimenting with such. The Army is debating adding a new letter to their designation system, however: the Testing Squadron is currently putting through its paces the new Hale T-13 Flying Ambulance, a modified F-4 Elephant with a reinforced and more insulated cargo bay, equipped with bunk beds and medical supplies, as well as assisted take-off rockets (smoother than a steam catapult at the expected range of take-off weights, and useful in areas where said catapult would be unavailable). The debate centres on whether the vehicle will be designated H for Hospital, or M for Medical.


Thoughts?
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