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Chalopin-Barkin Industries of Mars

By:

A joint French-Canadian company, Chalopin-Barkin of Mars is one of the pre-eminent manufacturers of space mining equipment and exotic vehicles.

Chalopin-Barkin Heavy Industries of Mars

One of the first extra-planetary corporations, Chalopin-Barkin was founded in the Federation Olympus Mons, Mars colony by a group if disgruntled industrialists, miners, and financial backers. They were tired of the profits from the risky and highly profitable extra-terrestial mining operations all being funneled back to the megacorps on Earth. The interested members consolidated between two individuals, the financial backers behind Henri Chalopin (French) and the miners and industrialists behind Charlene Barkin (Canada). The corporation started with providing basic mining gear but quickly expanded into creating heavy mining equipment, and custom vehicles.

Agenda:

CBHI's largest rival is the Federation's Union Aerospace Corporation, which has major facilities in orbit around Mars, most prominently at the Martian moons Phobos and Deimos. Phobos is a UAC habitat, and fleet anchorage for their Martian and Asteroid Belt operations. Deimos is a weapons development and black ops center that is heavily guarded and patrolled not only be UAC security ships, but also by Federation fleet assets. CBHI works to support mining operations and groups that are working to undermine, or reduce the dominance of the UAC without being drawn into a corporate war with the decidedly larger and more powerful Megacorp. To this end, CBHI provides machinery at a reduced cost compared to UAC sourced equipment, plus CBHI has the advantage of not being tied to Earth. Most of the other megacorps, like UAC, are strongly tied to central Boards of Directors or leadership on Earth that does what that group dictates. It can sometimes create a degree of dissonance when men working in the cold vacuum of space are faced with the decisions made by men sitting in comfortable chairs in a climate controlled arcology, surrounded by entourages, attaches and support staff to do everything but wipe them when they are done in the restroom. The gear produced by CBHI was designed by men and women with extensive experience in working in exotic conditions, not by soft handed men who complain about a hard day pressing computer buttons.

Leadership:

CBHI is currently headed by Ronald Francois Chalopin, son of Henri Chalopin. After reaching 80 years of age, Henri retired and purchased a small estate in his ancestral France to spend the rest of his days with his wife Koriander. Ronald was born and raised on Mars and has spent the last thirty years doing everything from running a drilling operation to overseeing the operation of an entire mining sector in the asteroid belt. He is seen as a young and dynamic leader who will take CBHI to new heights in space mining and the exploration and exploitation of Martian resources. He is supported by the three member BoD for CBHI, and is answerable to several investor groups back on Earth.

Resources

CBHI's Headquarters is in Barsoom City, near Olympus Mons, Mars. The arcology there is 30% owned by the corporation and serves as their primary administrative facility. The corporation computers and database exist in the Barsoom Arcology. Their refining operation is divided between two locations, Viking City and in polar orbit around Mars. The Viking City arcoplex is 90% industrial, and refines Martian ore into refined metal as well as having a large scale atmosphere processing center. It is hoped that eventually the atmosphere will be reformed enough to do away with bulky suits and allow people to roam the surface with little more than supplemental air supplies, like high altitude mountain climbers on Earth. Viking City hosts the principle CBHI factory complex, as well as it's refining center. The orbital facility CBHI-12 (Valentine Colony) handles the surface to orbit ships for CBHI, as well as being the corporate orbital refinery and shipping hub. Valentine is the second largest exporter of materials from Mars. UAC's July 7 orbital complex is the largest, and funnels almost twice the material back to Earth as Valentine and composes almost 40% of all Martian exports.

Vehicles Produced

Many of the vehicles produced by CBHI are functionally little different from other designs produced on Earth. On a functional level, a heavy space truck is a heavy space truck. The difference is in the details. Earth vehicles modded for space operation still retain useless features such as cup holders, and ergonomic features for people not working in space suits. Earth vehicles can also have asinine design features and requirements such as the engine, transmission, and body panels all requiring different sets of tools, such as having metric and standard bolts, regular allen bolts, star bolts and spline bolts all on the same vehicle. Most of CBHI's vehicles can be routinely maintained with a minimum of tools, and the spaces involved are accessible to crews working in pressure suits. 

G65 Multi-Role Mining Vehicle

Mounting an arc reactor in a light armored carapace, the G65 is highly mobile vehicle. It mounts a six wheel drive train, with each wheel having independent suspension and direct electric propulsion. It is able to rock crawl with great ease, due to its oversized wheels and low center of gravity. The G65, sometimes called the Prospector, has a modular hardpoint system common to military mecha that allow the vehicle to be tailored for its specific mission needs. Common attachments include a heavy manipulator arm, a communications array (superior to the standard radio system), a mining laser and other specialized tools. The G65 can work well with a solitary small scale operation, as a scout vehicle exploring for resource deposits, or a command and control vehicle for a cadre of mining machines. Detractors have pointed out that the module hardpoint system and light composite armor of the G65 could in theory make the mining vehicle a match for most light and medium military non-mecha vehicles.

G72 Tunneling Vehicle

The G72 is a light wheeled chassis mounting a small arc reactor and the same light composite armor of the G65. The front of the vehicle has greater armor, but also has a series of drills, lasers, and rock crushers for boring through rock and stone. Few G72s are used on Mars, most find their way into Asteroid mining where they are instrumental in hollowing out the chunks of space rock. The now standard corridor dimensions match the dimensions of the G72, such is it's success. The G72, often called the Sandhog, or Tunnel Rat, has a reduced modularity system, and only has a pair of mounts. Both of these mounts can be either retracted behind the vehicle or into it, so that the attached equipment isnt crushed against the rock the G72 is boring through.

G99 Laser Boring Machine

Where the G72 does the hard work with iron and steel, the G99 has a heavy mining laser and armor shielding on the front of it. The G99 uses it's broad beam laser to melt through high quality ores while the impurities pop and burn off in the heat. G99s are relatively uncommon as the heavy laser requires a large and expensive arc reactor, and extensive maintenance. Given the claims against industrial militarism, it is not a hard argument to prove that the G99 is easily converted into a heavy laser or particle cannon self propelled gun. G99s however remain in service across the Solar system and the design has been copied as the UAC Laser Raider mining vehicle, the ACPS Shen Long mining vehicle, and the L-1 Lunar Laser Carrier.

G22 All Terrain Exploration and Mining Vehicle

The G22 has a modular drive train and can alternate between pneumatic wheels, hard vacuum wheels, a half-track assembly, or even a ski sled assembly that has seen extensive use on Europa and the Martian ice caps. The G22 is a volatile materials explorer, not going after heavy metals but water, certain gases and liquids and the like that is often found in areas of ice and extreme cold. the G22 has a boom based rear mounted drill and exploration arm that it uses to penetrate ice packs and loose soil. Once suitable deposits have been found, the G22 is replaced by more conventional mining equipment. the G22 has a buggy type configuration, and is one of the fastest non-hover vehicles on Mars. G22s are not used in asteroid exploration.

H100 Big Rig Heavy Mining Vehicle

There are several versions of the H100, the most prominent are the rock hauler and the gas collector. The vehicle is long bodied and heavy, and can only handle light to moderate rough terrain. It can mount wheels but treads are the most common drive train though there are several H100-Ms that have mecha leg assembles and are functional quadruped vehicles. The H100R is the rock hauler and it moves ore too and from either processing facilities or to mining yards where more conventional vehicles like standard mine ore hauling trucks are based. It has several loader arms, and a cavernous cargo bay. The H100L can handle liquid or gas payloads that it takes on with a variable pump and container system. H100s are also used a mega movers where they are used to move modular facilities around at mining sites, such as mobile control centers, crew barracks, mining and processing equipment and anything else that needs to be moved.

H280 Mine Truck

Found only on planets, the H280 is a massive arc reactor powered truck that is little different than the trucks that service mines and quarries on Earth. The H280 has few differences beyond the cosmetic with the Rander HT-Cargo Carrier, the Atlas AT-1 Cargo Van, and a dozen other heavy mining trucks.

G-51 Mobile Crew Station

Mining is hard work, and the rough and tumble men and women who work the mines in space need a place to kick out of their work suits and vac-armor gear to drink a few beers, scratch at their crotches and smoke and cuss like a normal human being. The G-51 and G-HQ-51 are basically buildings on tank treads. The model 51 is divided into three decks, or stories. The bottom story has the cargo and holding area and the airlocks between breathable air and agonizing death. The middle level is a common or den area, as well as having recreational facilities, and the general mess. The top level is bunks and bathrooms for the crew. The standard G-51 can accomodate a crew of 20 miners, or as many as 40 miners if the crews hot rack (one sleeps while the other works). 

The G-51/HQ lacks many of the common features and instead of a bunk area has a command and control center while the common area is a mapping and planning area for maintaining operations across a large area or managing a major site. 

The G-51/L is a Logistics model and the lower two levels are stripped out into a single major bay where large vehicles can be brought entirely into the vehicle where the atmosphere can be regulated, allowing engineers and technicians to work on malfunctioning equipment without being tied up in bulky encounter and atmosphere suits. 

The G-51/Comm is much like the HQ model, but has both a planetary scale communications and electronics system, and is the physical host of a L/AISC and is one of the most expensive non-military vehicles on the market. A G-51/Comm can operate and support a local CogNet, or work as a node for a larger regional CogNet in non-developed areas. 

Logo

The CBHI logo is sometimes a point of contention for Earth first activists and opponents of Colonials on Earth. The corporate logo is a 'metal' hand grasping a bolt of lighting. Originally this was a standard issue insulated glove that was used in electricians work, and the lightning bolt was symbolically seen as grasping inspiration. On Earth, it was seen as a mighty mailed fist menacing with it's clutched Zuesian thunderbolt ready to smite the Earthbound. The fact that most of the vehicles produced have military style hardpoints doesn't help lessen Terrestrial anxieties. Rather than having an ulterior motive, the system was established before CBHI and wasn't copyrighted so the designers borrowed and used it. Fixing most of the arm and modular accessories to use standardized computer and power hook-ups made the process work better and made the machines easier to use in space. The fact that the H100 can use a hardpoint mounted laser cannon is just incidental.

Industrial Versus Military

There is a common fear that the hordes of mining vehicles and 'bots can be used to swarm the Earth, chewing up tanks and mecha. Why not? The machines survive in the hardness of space and in the common public eye live on a steady diet of convicts, criminals, asteroids, and explodium. The truth is much less impressive. The vehicles are armored, but this is armor to withstand an incidental event, such as a falling rock, micro-meteor hit or basic mining accident. The armor plating of even the heaviest vehicle, the G-51 would only offer minimal protection against military grade weaponry such as rail guns or heavy autocannons. The vehicles are also relatively slow compared to terrestrial military hardware. 20 mph is pretty fast when a vehicle is operating on a chunk of rock 35 miles wide, not so much on the Russian steppe.

Authors Notes

CBHI is the first non-terrestrial corp and starting to explore the reaches of the Colonies is the Cosmic Era. Already I can feel a sense of dislocation from Earth, and a distancing from the culture of Earth and the first twinklings of non-terran pride. I can already see people writing Martian on their tax forms for the Federation, and cultural events such as celebrating Landing Day, and the writings of Bradbury and the whole Little Green Men from Mars milieu. War of the Worlds sits on the bottom of the stack, it's not time for that one...yet.

CBHI draws heavy inspiration from a short lived cartoon I watched as a child, Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors. The vehicles are inspired by the Lightning League war machines. I would get up at 5:30 AM to watch Jayce and his space mullet fight the evil Monster Masters.



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Comments ( 1 )
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Voted axlerowes
December 4, 2014, 14:52
5xp
First and foremost, I enjoy and respect the world you paint it is a damn shame you don't have a visual artist to work with you.

I read this with the goal of learning more about extra-terrestrial life, economics and culture in the cosmic era. I got some of that.

It also have a nice tone resulting from the author's editorializing and the choice of facts shared. The tone paints the martians as the more sympathetic and admirable group compared to the " soft handed men who complain about a hard day pressing computer buttons"....at least to my antebellum Southern 'merican sensibilities.

But I found this a little dry (please don't hate me) because it is a largely in-personal and heavy handed list of facts. But I think that is a problem endemic to write ups retro-fitted to toys when you don't have the toys. As it is I would like more Martian stories and less vehicle descriptions. From the meat of prose is the human and dramatic aspects of the conflicts. Those are the juicy details, not the speed of a G22. To be fair though I acknowledge that preference for people and stories over hardware and conclusions is my bias.

So what do you need here if not a real story? You need in game stats.

Battletech as I understand it, was started when somebody decided it would be fun (or profitable) to play a board game with models of robots popular in Japanesse TV at the time. So I recall reading that they hired M. Stackpole to write up a board game and a back story to use these minis which were based on Japan's popular animation at the time. So even if Stackpole's or J. Michael Straczynski's story was dry you still had the toys. Those little bio-blurbs on the back of your G.I. Joe and Transformer blister packs would be far less interesting if we didn't have the toys. To a role-player or wargammer Stats can be toys, perhaps it is time to start STATing up the Cosmic Era. That way we could to play out scenario's such as one lone private eye way out of his element jumping on to the controls of a standard G99 to try and fight off a score of Skeletrons (or are they Skeletors)

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