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(Jon sez:)

Your Writer: Jon Kilgannon Ian Auger-Juul asks: "What sort of thought went into the design behind the Qin Shihuangdi?" Is there actual science behind it, or is it a 'this looks cool, let's run with it' sort of design?"

Mark did the mecha design for the Qin itself. From a science standpoint, there is no actual science behind the design of the Qin. The technology which would allow the creation of the Qin is almost certainly impossible, as direct control over the vectors of objects is a bit of technobabble.

However, from a sociological standpoint the Qin is a completely understandable space vehicle. When ornamentation and aesthetics are feasible to design into a vehicle, people design them in. Naval ships of the early Enlightenment were baroque masterpieces of artwork, and even many of the workaday ships of the Napoleonic War-era British Navy had brightwork shined, carved details highlighted, and gold leaf installed. Such things have fallen to the wayside in the last two centuries or so, as they are now a hindrance to the proper functioning of a naval vessel (and because they cost money). So you now have to think just how advanced and powerful a society must be before it can afford to make one of its intrasystem cruisers into a mobile work of art...

The Qin is also a logical vehicle from a strategic standpoint. Its various parts can be removed or replaced with ease and if, for instance, the ship needs to be given a boost in firepower a weapons module or two can be floated onto its motivator core. Upgrading a modern ship takes months to years and involves heavy machinery, drydocks, and cost overruns in the millions of dollars.

Ian also asks where the name "Qin Shihuangdi" comes from. Qin Shihuangdi was a real person, the first emperor of China, whose burial goods included eight thousand beautiful life-sized terra-cotta soldiers which are considered among the world's great archaeological treasures. As Mark kindly pointed out the last time I mentioned this, Qin Shihuangdi was also a the name of a villain in one of the Tomb Raider games, which is where many of you may have heard the name before.

(Mark sez:)

Your Artist: Mark Sachs That'll do nicely.

The comic plugs for today are Storm Corps and Alternate Dimension. Go in peace, sin no more, I'm out of here!