Imperial Knights – More Plausible than you’d Think

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The Imperial Knights are a terror on the tabletop. And soon, they’ll be fighting a deadly battle in real life.

This month marks a great moment in history. Because this month will be the first (that I’m aware of) giant robot fight in history. With two years of prep time, construction, and build-up, the United States and Japan are about to hurl us headlong into the future by taking two impractically large mechs and making them fight each other for our edification. This is of course the plot of several movies, anime, manga, and whatever other media you can think of. But soon it will also be real life, thanks to Megabots.

 

For now, we have to wait for the slow passage of time to take us to the moment where everyone’s life is forever altered, and ‘mech pilot becomes a viable career path. But let’s take a look to the future–to people for whom ‘mech pilot is actually one of the few good existences out there. I speak, of course, of the Questor Imperialis–the Imperial Knights.

Now, mind you, a Knight Paladin or Knight Crusader is a far cry from MegaBot and Kuratas up there, but both of these giant robots do show that these might one day be possible. Let’s take a look at the various components of the Knights and see just how plausible this might truly be.

Armor

Humanity is getting better, in general, at making armor all the time. In the last hundred years we’ve gone from tanks being death traps that would get stuck in trenches, to being a part of any mechanized military. There are new developments in vehicle armor that counter existing weaponry–especially crazy experimental things like electrically charged armour, which also leans into the idea of an Ion Shield that protects these guys. But we put armor on everything from tanks to boats to planes to space ships. If it moves, we can make it impregnable. Sort of.

Weapons

Oh we can definitely put guns on literally anything. From cars to tanks to bikes–now mind you, plasma cannons might be a way off, but I have little doubt that we can take a vulcan cannon and strap it to something and voila. Baby knight.

Sensors

We were developing sensors that can see through walls six years ago.

So going to call that one a win for real world us vs. 40K us.

Mobility

We maybe have a while to go. Although… only recently we saw the debut of the Atlas II, who is making some very promising advances.

Wait hold on. Was that guy deliberately tormenting this poor ‘bot?

This is how humanity dies. Alright. I thought maybe we’d get there, but now it looks like we’re going to bring about a well-earned robocalypse on us. Assuming that we somehow manage to survive and develop a man-machine interface, we’re golden. But until then, Questor Imperialis remain tantalizingly out of reach.

Who do you think is going to win the fight? Megabot or Kuratas? Or do they team up and begin the robot revolution?

  • zeno666

    Coolt!
    But can it paint miniatures for me? 🙂

    • euansmith

      Blade Runner promises us Pris, the Basic Pleasure Model (a fantastic bit of horrible world building in a simple name); but I’d swap her in a heart beat for Bob the Basic House Work Model.

      • sidewinderscott

        screw Pris give us BoB first everyone needs a bob.

      • Mr handy > anthropomorphic house keeper bots

        • euansmith

          Bart Simpson: And every night the monkey butlers will regale us with jungle stories.
          Nelson: How many monkey butlers will there be?
          Bart Simpson: One at first, but he’ll train others.

  • elwin charpentier

    A tall,n huge and perfect target.

    • euansmith

      Indeed, without void shields, the only use for such high profile monstrosities would be for propaganda.

      • William Jameson

        Or fighting Kaiju. Or robot boxing if trained by Hugh Jackman. Though preferably not BUILT by Hugh Jackman or they’d basically be ED-209.
        Thinking on it Hugh Jackman has been in a bunch of robot movies lately.

      • Tushan

        Rather without anti grav generators.

        Best defense vs gigantic mecha is a slope prone to landslides or failing that, common swampland or just to take out the logistic trucks way behind.

        Taking this further, best defense vs chaos berzerkers is not a wall or moat but simple dense shrub. Good luck getting through that with all those hundreds of spikes and chains on everything.

        😛

  • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

    I suspect the future of warfare will be clouds of semi autonomous flying drones, too small to defend against with existing weapons. Basically a bunch of flying shaped charges.

    They could be dropped from larger drones. They would make infantry unsurvivable on the battlefield, and if they were solar powered they could have indefinite linger times, denying areas from anyone else.. Anything bigger than this would be too easily targetted by long range missiles or larger drones.

    • euansmith

      Aren’t you a ray of freakin’ sunshine 🙁

      That scenario is all too plausible; like a macro scale version of Neil Stephenson’s Toner Wars in Diamond Age. One of the most horrible future war scenarios I’ve come across is the Meme Wars in John Barnes’ novels. If that comes about, I’m siding with 1Tru all the way.

      • zeno666

        Meme wars happens on the internet every now and then as well 🙂

        • euansmith

          Fortunately those memes tend to just reinforce the reader’s confirmation bias, rather than actually overwrite their personality 😉

      • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

        Haven’t come across that, can you summarise?

        • euansmith

          Skipping over all the horrible bits, and allowing for my crap memory, you end up with a world in which someone wrote a computer program that can run on any computer system. Unfortunately the human brain is just a biological computer and so it can be used to run the program.

          Various organisations release their own versions of the program in to the world as part of a power struggle. The program can be transmitted via audio, so listening to an infected person can lead to you becoming infected. This is the Meme War.

          Most of the programs canibalise their subjects, totally overwriting their personalities. One True is one strain that just piggybacks on its subjects. It provides protection against further infection and is the most altrusitic of the emergent AIs in the setting. You don’t want to catch Capitalism, Communism or Roman Catholic.

          • Tushan

            Peter F. Hamilton “solved” this one. The brain is a computer that runs on/generates electric impulses. Thus putting in correct electrical impulses would also cause the brain to rewire itself or at least to be hacked.

            How to do that? Simple. Light!

            Shining light in complex frequencies into the eyes will cause feedback in the visual parts..just like inputting code into wetware.

            Fascinating.

            Failing that we could always use the poor mans version and go with socialist school system and media brainwashing while eating harmful empty junk.

          • euansmith

            Or a rubber mallet applied to the noggin.

          • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

            Clever plot/satire 🙂

          • 301stFeinminsterArmoured

            Much more fond of Crichton’s Prey. AI done right.

    • Belechem

      And a single EMP blast(nuke or not) would make them fall out of the sky bcs such small devices cant be made immune to it.

      • euansmith

        Good call, though I guess you could activate the micro drones in waves; maybe using a clockwork timer.

        I don’t think governments would be too happy to repeatedly detonate nukes over their own cities to take out enemy micro drones.

        The voters won’t be too happy with their elected officials destroying their consumer goods and probably raising background radiation levels too.

        • Belechem

          The big military superpowers all have droppable non-nuke EMP devices already.
          BTW, what speaks against another anti-microdrone cloud of microdrones? 🙂

          • euansmith

            Cartainly, man portable EMP devices would be cool. Probably some sort of back pack producing a field to protect the wearer’s unit. Strong points protected by larger, stationery units would give a strong narrative focus too. Microdrone vs microdrone combat would be a thing, like the microscopic battles hinted at in the Toner Wars.

          • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

            Drone clouds could be a doomsday weapon against civilians and soldiers alike, doing what neutron weapons promised to do, depopulating areas entirely and only targeting enemy civilians. Innoculate your populace against them with a passive chip.

            The future is scary.

          • euansmith

            Don’t sweat it, global warming and the Yellowstone Park Super Volcano will kill us all first 😉

        • Tushan

          On the contrary. This would be god sent for a fiat based consumer society like ours.

          Also, if mini drones will be a thing I´ll buy stock or go long in micro missile manufacture indexes and can switch the swimming pool for a yacht instead.

      • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

        And then you launch some more. They are cheaper than anything that can make such a pulse.

      • 301stFeinminsterArmoured

        Almost every modern electronic device has EM shielding, thanks to the FCC. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be able to operate your radio, cellphone, and car at the same time.

    • Tushan

      One word (possibly two)..

      Micromissiles!

      • euansmith

        Four words (possible three), “Micro Missile Interceptor Missiles” 😉

        • Tushan

          LOL

        • Tushan

          It is here that I counter with:
          Mobile Micro missile Eccm..

          For witch you reply: Ecccm..

          And I go: Eccccm..and so on until someone invents portable EM bending tech.

          • euansmith

            Buts like EMC squared?! Oh, no, we’re back to setting off nukes over our own cities again!

          • Tushan

            Then again, one population actually likes to glow in the dark while drinking vodka while the other cries and whines over one single casualty.

            I like Elon Musks approach, my metal robotic body dont care about trifles like radiation and I can always upload to a new one. Bah!

  • frank

    How many times have they reschedueled this fight? This was supposed to be held last month at last i heard. Why keep up on somthing that has amounted to nothing in two years time? i know megabots has made a fair amount of money to support this venture but its kinda goten old that its more than a year late now and still no solid date.

  • euansmith

    That robots falling down video really got me giggling; though I winced every time one of the machines hit the group; all those poor gubbins getting shaken up like that. Oh, the inhumanity!

  • Rafał Pytlak

    Mechas are cool.

    But that “men of iron” below…that’s some extra heresy, right there!
    Where are some hot Sororitas when you need them!?

  • Just a player

    We still have ~80 years : )
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6fGM1cvUQv8

  • Dalinair

    I Imagine kastelan robots are more likely first