Sunday, March 03, 2019

Aquatic Techlevels.

An under water industrial revolution one eel at a time.
By Wesley Bruce

Many science fiction writers can not imagine how an aquatic alien race could develop technology so in many cases the underwater race is either primitive or fanatically advanced with unexplained and unexplainable technology. In Traveller the several aquatic races are described as primitive, eg. The Schalli of Aubaine [Vras](0738/Aubaine/Old Expanses ) were primitive until humans gave them technology. A second example is the Githiaskio of Githiaski (0806 Githiaski/Dartho) These were described by Phil Masters in 'the Journal of the Travellers Aid Society.' (No.16 pp 12 - 14,27 ) as having "developed several distinct, complex cultures at around tech level 1-2 but lacking metals except for an occasional nearly pure lump which could be worked into something useful or decorative." With due respect to these authors they have uniformly associated metallurgy with fire and assuming fire is impossible, they have then assumed that metal refining is impossible. It is in fact possible to have a technology based society at TL 6 or 7 (WW2- modern) where fire in not yet a useful tool. See below.

The table below assumes the species has no manipulators and can not walk on land, ie. a Dolphin or fish. The first tool required is a pair of mouth tongs for manipulating things; these become automatic Grippers and then mechanical hands at higher tech levels. Using a variant of the Traveller RPG technology level system With some Gurps high technology and ultra-technology gadgets.
If the race has hands or other manipulators, i.e. an Otter, then progress is easier if not faster. If it can move on land easily the land carts are only used for long expeditions.

1. Mouth tongs [A pair of tongs that is held in the mouth and is opened and closed with the tongue ] Hammer-stone, Fish traps and free stone break walls in shallows. Pokers and daggers made from sharp coral, shell and bone. Naked eye study of Astronomy and land vegetation. Trained land crab sent to retrieve small coastal vegetation items.

2. Raw hide skin. Woven seaweeds. Sculpting of living coral by feeding, covering & abrading.
Bagtube: a streamlined woven basket/bag that has a loop on each end to allow it to be towed. Seagrass rope lines. Oscillating lines as a power transmission system. Oscillating wave and current mills. Drop hammer. Diamond headed bow drills. Assembly frame and jigs [A set of mounted spring loaded grippers used for assembling complex items]. Pipette and short coral/shell pipes. Oil sack. [Oil filled bladder or fish gut tube that allows chemicals to be mixed in a bubble within the oil. The oil keeps the sea water out]. Spears made from sculpted coral, drift wood and sea side trees.

3. The breeding of seaweeds, seagrasses, coral, fishes and molluscs. Dry bells air filled bells over a working surface or gripers. The bell allows the dry working of materials. Gold Crafting with small drop hammers in dry bells. Clay sealed coral tubes. Early cements and grouts dried on drying rafts or poles. Clockwork powered general gripper and special propose mouth tools. Weapon harness allows spear-guns and lances to be used with the mouth free. Early hydraulic and pneumatic tools with rigid pipes. The periscope to aid the study of things above water level.  Wave powered surface vessels. Sailing vessels with submerged hulls and exposed rigging. Acclamation to fresh water: Exploration up rivers.
The first studies of electric eels, rays, etc lead to animal powered capacitors and electric arcs.

4. Industrial dry box with mechanical tele-operated arms, lathes and drills (an advance from the drybell with periscopes and multi-function grippers). Chemical dry box with scoops and stirrers for manufacturing compounds in the absence of sea water. Rubber like extracts from sea weeds. Flexible hydraulic and pneumatic lines. Spear guns. Rotary Wave and current mills. First experimental batteries. Electrodeposition of calcium carbonates produce first large structures. Canal building with locks in low lands and estuaries.

5. Age of electrolysis. The Key industrial technology. Insulated Wire & big battery arrays. Electroplating, Hydrogen, Oxygen cutting and welding, Direct reduction of ores using hydrogen and carbon. Glass, Steel, Copper, Aluminium, Electric servo's & solenoids. Iron is not of much use due to rust except in alkali iron batteries.
Wheeled carts drawn by large amphibious animals used to explore land and shallows.

6. Electric motors. Gun Engines [Explosive charge powered compressors driving pneumatic systems]. Electric and Gun Engine  powered boats, submarines, Bathy-crawlers & landcarts. Hydrogen powered Airships. Full range basic of chemicals produced in dry boxes including Ammonia, Nitrates, Acids and Alkalies. Cellulose based polymers produced: Bakelite, cellophane & Nylon. Explosive torpedo and spear head.
Hyper oxygenated recovery tank [This quarters recovery time for external injuries].

7. Titanium and concrete. Electronics: Sonar, Radar & Radio. Microhydraulic circuitry [Fluidics] Early sonic weapons. Coast and mangrove farming. Solar, wind, or methane powered bathy pumps lift nutrient rich deep sea water to the surface as fertiliser.  First permanent land based structures: Pool houses.
Hydrogen powered Boats, Land Trains, and Seaplanes. Oceanic noise pollution crisis.

8. Oil discovered: plastics, petrol and Diesel. Large ships ply the seas. Nuclear isotopes discovered and nuclear lights developed [isotopes and phosphorous sealed in a glass clad aerogel. One such light lasts for a decade without significant fading.]
Touch feed back systems for robotic limbs, vibration based.
{In Traveller true Antigravity is TL 8}

9. Cold Fusion experiments linked to electrolytic deuterium experiments. First fission reactors. Genetics.
Sea launch space craft. Full lifesupport technology. Microelectronics. Optic fibres. Hovercraft. Personal wheeled landcarts. Shower suit to keep the user wet on dry land.
Smart robotic limbs. Bionics: Nerve impulse controller for vehicles and robot limbs. Powered speargun with autoloader. {Early Traveller Jump drive is TL 9.}

10. Cheap legged personal land 'carts'. Flexibody drive train. Fusion vehicles. Early stardrive {non traveller} Fully functional Robotics. Long range Encrypted Digital Acoustic communication.  Early work on gravity ripple {or Meson} communicators. Sonar Blinder grenades (micro torpedoes.)

11. Radio-wave based submarine power transmission system, Ultra Low Frequency. Tractor Beams. Flow Ways: Tractor beam driven artificial currents.
Smart Gels [Bioplastic] Cheap gravity ripple {or Meson} communicators. Implantable robotics controller [interface jack]

12. Antigravity. Hydrostatic force fields [Surface tension increased 1000 fold, water/air interface only]
Tractor beams that work in air. Elemental Teleportation & Disintegrators [Objects are destroyed by teleportation but elements can be teleported intact arriving as a pure element sample stream].

13. Force Fields, Shape changing Bioplastic walkers, landcarts and limbs, Nano technology medicine. Technologically achieved telepathy [implanted cellphones with direct brain interface.]

14. 'Elemental' or Robotic water [Nanoswarm with force field  and sensor capability.] Force field and antigravity limpet. [Personal force field and the ability to fly with little apparent technology]. Regeneration Globe. Slave Dart [Dominator nanoswarm.] Implant limbs (retractable),

15. Force field and antigravity implants. Full teleportation ( traveller teleportals) Teleguns.
Techno Telekinesis: Virtual Matter Limbs. [A configuration of tractor beams and force fields with the appearance of invisible mind controlled limbs].

Your Fishy stories will never be the same again.

Don't ask me how they evolved I'm a creationist.