23 March 2016

First Aid And Your Battlesuit

Reading "The Martian" and pondering...

The reason he gets stranded is a metal rod penetrates his suit, him, and kills his biomedical monitoring stuff.

He's saved by the blind luck that the rod didn't hit anything really vital inside him and the seeping from the wound sealed the hole.  To get back into his habitat he had to remove that rod, then slap a patch on the suit, then walk it off.

But what if...

Science fiction games are a lot more dynamic than the opening scene of "The Martian" (and let's be honest, we're sick of saving private doctor mission specialist Maaaaaaaaatt DAYMON!).

So we'll stop talking about him.

Let's say it's Traveller and you're in your battlesuit and you take a torso hit that penetrates while in zero-G and vacuum.  This could really redefine the term "sucking chest wound".

What now?

Apply pressure to the wound?

Through a rigid chest plate that can stop a .50 BMG round (even AP) dead in its tracks.  It's even going to stop a single hit from a Vulcan cannon firing HE!!

Because of the environment, you cannot remove the victim from their suit.

What can you do?  Zeroth aid would be to apply a suit patch and hope they can hang on until you can get them to the air-side of an airlock.

We have to consider that it's not 2016 in your typical science fiction universe.  There's ideas that are just concepts to us, that are everyday and reliable tech to them.

First things first, a military battlesuit is going to have some form of self sealing in the event of a puncture.  We're only going to be applying external patches to large penetrations, and there might not be time considering the 1 bar differential between inside and outside that suit.

Let's assume that the suit's leak is sealed.  What if the suit itself can apply first aid?  What if there's a redundant array of bladders that can expand and put pressure where it's needed?  The computers at even (GURPS 4e) TL9 are sophisticated enough and Traveller is TL10+.  This same system of bladders can also become a tourniquet for a severed limb and "mouse trousers" to force blood to remain around the organs.

That takes care of the military...

Well, why wouldn't this stuff be part of any working suit?  The risk of puncture is at least as high in an industrial or mining situation.

What about recreational suits?

While skipping about on the moon is less dangerous than a firefight or trying to weld, hard vacuum is still pretty much the most hazardous environment we can picture exposing tourists to and unless The Third Imperium has radically different liability laws than the US and EU, there's going to be some criminal proceedings surrounding renting a stripped down pressure suit to someone without any relevant skills operating it.

However!  It's not going to be an actual pressure suit with 1bar of atmosphere in it, but will be a counterpressure garment.  For normal TL9+ needs, you can apply direct pressure to the wound once the hole is sealed up, just remember that pressure differential between inside the circulatory system and vacuum when you slap a patch on, bleeding is much faster.  According to GURPS 4e Ultratech p 179, these common, everyday suits already have the biomedical monitoring needed to do many first-aid functions, just needs a pack for the auto-injector.

It's something of a gamer cop-out, but First-Aid is a TL skill, so your character will know what to do even if YOU don't.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Try to remember you are a guest here when you comment. Inappropriate comments will be deleted without mention. Amnesty period is expired.