|The Iron Curtain|
|The Iron Curtain|
|Function||Makes Vehicles/Structures invincible|
|Ability||Iron Curtain Field|
Makes targets shortly invincible, deadly for infantry
|Dev. Status||Original RA3 Building|
- Unbreakable: When activated, the Iron Curtain can make a group of units or buildings completely invincible.
- Unhealthy: While having your molecules bounded together is all well and good for vehicles, infantry fair somewhat more poorly, and will die if the Iron Curtain is used on them.
- Uneconomical: In addition to its lengthy charge-up time, the Iron Curtain is quite expensive.
The first thing to be known about the Iron Curtain is that it is the result of what was formerly considered to be a failed project. In January of 1952, a team of top Soviet scientists consisting of Maxim Rusakov, Jacob Vanger, the last two students of Nikola Tesla and a few others, (assisted by a then-unknown Igor Leonidov) worked on a top secret project in the outskirts of Moscow. They were told to find a method that effectively strengthens and hardens steel to make it at least four times more durable at relative low costs. After trying some chemical and mechanical methods they very quickly came to magnets. Basically, they tried to power up magnets with Tesla generators and then compress steel with it. As they found out, it wasn't THAT easy. The solution came one evening.
Rusakov was sitting in the main lab after a day of wasted and frustrating work. He had tried all day to clean a pair of high-voltage contacts with a spoon, ending up with the spoon bent and stuck between the contacts (When later asked why he did so he replied he had no idea). They still had an endless series of experiments to find out if slight modifications to the alloy of the tank steel would make it more cooperative. So the frustrated scientist took the biggest vodka bottle he could find and went on testing. At the third test something interesting happened. When Rusakov activated the big contraction magnets, the alloy-sample begun to glow a dark red and a thin beam of red light emerged through a weak point of the magnetic field. The beam hit the spoon, making it glow in the same colour as the alloy. Due to his drunkeness by now he threw away all safety protocols and tried to touch it with bare hands. He burnt his fingers in the attempt. In result he tried it with a pair of raw iron pliers. The glow spread on the pliers and he got his fingers burnt again. In sudden drunk anger he went to the tool room and to the surprise of the technician busy sorting out some nuts and bolts there, took a big sledge hammer with wooden handle to "show the damn spoon the might of the people's hammer". He returned to his lab and put himself up in front of the glowing corpus delicti, ready to slay it with 7 kilograms of antimagnetic steel.
He ended up with the hammer pinned on the spoon, which consisted of aluminium and thus should not have been nearly as hard as it was. Even in his dazed condition he realized he found a way to make metal indestructible (or at least close to that) albeit not in the way he thought. In a cheerful mood he called his colleagues to look at his sudden success. To celebrate they took several bottles, emptying them in short time, and made some very foolish decisions. The first was to get even more vodka, second they had an Anvil Heavy Tank driven next to the wall of the lab, and third they made a hole into the said wall with the sledgehammer to radiate the tank. While the tank glowed brightly in the dark Russian night the scientists fell into deep sleep. Next morning with a straight hangover and some mild frostbite they deactivated the magnets and noticed that the tank had heated up to 250°C, which was a good temperature for an oven, but a bad one for a tank. They decided to fix that later, for first they had to show the important people what they created.
In the evening a VIP bunker had been set up, the Anvil Tank put on the testing field, and a YaK Dive Bomber already circling overhead by the time the convoy carrying the members of the Soviet High Command arrived. Jacob promised them a wonder, and what they got were fireworks. The Anvil exploded in a bright ball of fire, which did not amuse the observers. If the scientists wouldn't have been so worthy they would have definitely gone straight to the Gulag. As it was, they should just have immediately ceased working on the project. Finally it was Vagner who saved the day, or rather week. He reminded his comrades of something quite obvious. "The device did make the spoon indestructible, didn't it? As long as the beam had contact to the metal, right? So why didn't we just let it stay activated?"
"Because the tank was turned into an oven," he received in reply.
"But that took 10 hours. One of us could wrap himself into one of the suits we use for chandelling the Cyclosarin and sit in there for the demonstration." Rusakov then made a step forward and said, "I will deal with that. I already know how to get the High Command right back here, too." His colleagues admired his bravery.
"You are sure on this?"
"Yes, of course."
While the others prepared another Anvil Tank and transported their device out of the lab and put it up 500 metres away from the tank, Rusakov called the High Command. He talked directly to General Georgi Kukov, and told him to bring his Command Tank. "You sit in your Command Tank and I will be in a modified Anvil Tank. You will be unable to defeat me, but if you do will you don't need to think about a way of punishing me for my incompetence. You will get your will anyway!"
Kukov ordered his aides to ready his Command Tank and started driving to the lab, at full speed. When the rest of the High Command heard about the outrageous challenge for duel, they hurried to get to the site of event. The duel took place at the testing field which was still partially scorched by the explosion of the other Anvil Tank. Rusakov's much smaller tank stood in front of Kukov’s mighty JS-1, and the generals had no doubt about the outcome of the fight/test. Then Jacob activated the device and as the smaller tank begun to glow the spectators let out a grasp of astonishment. Kukov ordered both cannons and all rocket launchers to be fired to end the whole thing, but shells and rockets smashed into the tank without even causing a scratch. Everyone just gazed at the unaffected Anvil for a moment. General Kukov himself broke the silence, snatching the controls from his gunner and unleashing the tank’s entire firepower onto the Anvil Tank. But still there was no effect. And so Kukov ordered the driver to crush Rusakov's tank under the weight of the Command Tank. The Elephant Tank advanced, crushing the Anvil Tank into the ground. By the time the Elephant had driven over the Anvil had created a deep depression in the ground, and yet the Anvil Tank was still completely intact. Rusakov wanted to make the demonstration perfect and managed to turn the turret and fire one HEAT round into the tracks forcing Kukov's tank to an undignified halt. After Kukov had calmed down (it took twenty soldiers to stop him from tearing Rusakov into small pieces), he begun to realise the power he just had experienced.
In the next months the phenomenon Rusakov discovered came to be researched and better understood. It was found out that the effect was caused by a special particle which was named the Rusakov Quantum. However, as a result of its unique properties the particle came to be better known as the Iron Quantum or simply Iron Energy. The invention was later credited to Leonidov after the mysterious death of Maxim and total destruction of his lab where he had been working on a "plasma projector", as he called it. Speculations say it was Kukov's revenge, but there was no evidence pointing to such a conclusion. Also, as Kukov said, he would have killed him the very day after the demonstration if he had wanted to.
The Science Edit
The mechanism of the "Iron Curtain"-effect is rather simple in practical use, yet as any good Soviet technology, its theoretical background is a bit more complicated. Basically, there is a special alloy which is 90% iron. The remaining 10% is made up of several key elements in specific proportions. The exact composition of this alloy is a Soviet state secret. A sphere made out of this alloy, in the centre of some strong magnetic fields. This alloy generates a beam, which can then be shaped and focused by sufficiently powerful magnets. The beam consists of Rusakov quanta which have an interesting ability. Normally a quantum is both a wave and a particle, but the Rusakov changes to a semi-mechanical wave on contact with a solid. Now when a Rusakov Quantum hits the solid then it causes an atom to oscillate, causing its neighbours to oscillate too. Up to here, it's a normal mechanical wave.
But the Rusakov Wave gets partly reflected by every atom. This ongoing reflection is similar to heat which would normally weaken the material, yet here the atoms do not hold the energy, but instead pass the complete energy to the next atom(s) or emit it as radiation. This radiation consists of red light (670 nm) and high energy gamma rays (8.13MeV). Luckily the gamma radiation is miniscule, otherwise Soviet tank crews would have to wear thick lead-plated armour to somehow reduce the effects. Because of the overlapping of the oscillations, the bond tension oscillates too, at a high rate (4.5 Thz), between nearly zero and extreme. In result the metal seems to be extremely hard all the time, with a hardness far exceeding that of even diamond. With organic matter, however, this can have highly detrimental consequences, usually resulting in near instant death in the case of humans, though the reason behind this is not well understood.
Designs EditThere are three designs of the Iron Curtain device used in the field. Two use direct projection and the third and latest is satellite supported. All of them consist of three basic components plus the control unit. These are the beam generator, the quantum collector and the projector. The first model had a globe-shaped collector made of a massive shell of steel surrounded by what is essentially a giant electromagnet in the shape of a hollow sphere. Due to the properties of the Rusakov Quantum, it can be deflected by magnetic forces. The projector is a paraboloid of the special iron alloy inside the collector, held and pointed by big magnets. This paraboloid was semi-permeable, letting in the quanta from everywhere but focusing them to one certain point.
This design had some lethal flaws: The projector was most likely not projecting on the target, but on the device itself; and sometimes the complex magnetic field failed and streams of quanta leaked killing anyone standing nearby and lacking adequate protection. Together with some minor flaws, this resulted in a failing quota of 85%. Unfortunately it was already in mass production, so the development team had to bring it to work properly, basically by installing the projector at the top of the collector after cutting a hole in it and fitting in another magnet plate that should reflect all low energy quanta back so they could join with others to high energy.
With this improvement the spread and intensity of the projection could be better controlled, simply altering the magnetic field around the plate. In addition they also designed a stabilization field-generator. It cut the accidents by another 38%. With the expansion of the Soviet space programme came the latest design of the Iron Curtain, which has instead of a projector installed to the device itself an accompanying satellite in a geostationary orbit that reflects the concentrated beam of Rusakov quanta back to earth. The main advantage of this system is that it is completely independent from the terrain and thus can be used everywhere. Today this third system is the most common. The second can only be seen in remote Soviet bases and are basically upgraded Mk Is.