Okay. Atomic batteries from the future. Atomic batteries are very energy dense: 1g of Pm-147 has a hell of a lot more energy than 1g of gasoline.
The biggest problem is: why would you ever use a bucky battery instead of solar panels? Space is full of free energy. Hell, starlight can even push your ship.
But the other problem is wattage. Atomic batteries trickle out their energy over very long times. The way we use it now (space, deep-sea, pacemakers) it is just to monitor a low-energy sensor, and then activate a lithium battery or something that actually sends out a signal, activates an alarm, etc.
The half-life is a problem, too. If you double the half-life, you cut the wattage in half. Out of all the possible isotope/buckyball configurations, why would we design a battery that lasts thousands of years (which we probably don't need) at the expense of effective power (which we do)?
Also, kW/day doesn't make a lot of sense, since 1 W = 1 Joule per second.
Lasty (and you pointed this out), atomic batteries are going to have an abysmal wattage/kg compared to other fuels. An escape pod would need to move quickly to avoid fusion reactor explosions, and then point themselves at their destinations. Go to Comment
And it's very energy expensive to push heavy objects out of the atmosphere, as well as around from planet to planet. And atomic batteries big enough to power the life support systems of a ship would be very, very heavy. Go to Comment
Armor plating: When made from a dense actinide element (like depleted uranium!), even armor plating can serve to power the ship. Not only is it dense enough to protect the ship from ballistics and lasers, it also serves as an auxiliary power source, lightening the load on the ship's reactors.
The natural consumers of Hemangini nuts I presume? This nicely anticipates a question regarding the trees: if you have naturally evolved plants using metal, it is very likely you have an ecosystem that uses metal. These squirrels can crack the metal nuts, are in turn hunted upon by silver foxes and copper falcons, who are in turn hunted by iron wolves or mithral eagles, etcetera. Of course, any species that literally eats money is in big trouble - though I can imagine a rogue setting some of these squirrels free in the vault of someone who did not pay the protection money.... Go to Comment
Yes Virginia, speculative biology goes beyond flora. I do wonder whether the ecosystem could truly support a metal creature as active as a squirrel, however. They'd almost certainly be restricted to groves of Hemangini trees.
Update: I never meant to suggest that they lived off of metal alone. I tried to change the write up to suggest that metal was only a part of their diet. But the point was to make an amusing counter part to the tree.
For 100 words both of these submissions are great, gives an interesting new potential for a world whose primary resource is metal rather than stone/dirt. I would have liked to see what these submissions would have been in more than 100 words.
Truly good space-zombie variant. And the background story is great too. The only things I wonder about is whether the wireless network the crystals form can be interrupted or even be hacked, and whether it is possible to cure an infected person. Go to Comment
A new question: do I read it correctly that cold-blooded creatures do not "activate" the srpores? If there are cold-blooded aliens, than these might carry spores without knowing it (or so they say...) Meanwhile, survivors of these zombies might become quite paranoid about dust and glittering particles. Go to Comment