In My GI Joe Universe...
Here's an idea I'm having about implementing a Star Trek inspired "transporter" system with my VSS. Back in the 1980's Cobra tried conquering the world using a teleportation system called "the Mass Device." The system required some cutting edge technology and Cobra was able to acquire this tech and began transporting troops and threatening the world. They were stopped by the GI Joe team, but only after a desperate race around the world to secure three rare elements that powered the device. Now jump to modern times where Cobra now has the VSS -- Venomous Sea Serpent -- and in particular, VSS 002, a space carrier. Welcome to my GI Joe Universe!
Technology has changed since the 1980's. Computers are smaller, faster, and there's been a lot of advancements with all the sciences. Cobra has been paying attention to the changing times and has invested heavily on Research and Development, as it has always done. Now technology has progressed to the point where the three rare elements can either be synthesized or replaced with alternative substances or technology. The result is now Cobra can bring back the Mass Device and make use of it in much the same way as a Star Trek style "transporter."
Records are always kept, especially when the item is as complex as a teleportation machine. Whether Cobra directly has archived the old plans to the Mass Device, or MARS -- Destro's organization -- someone somewhere has the old plans. There's no reason why Cobra can not reinvest with the old tech and upgrade everything, taking advantage of newer techniques to get past the rare element limitations.
An alternative to shuttles is using a "space elevator" where cargo, including people, are transported up from ground level to low orbit using a lift. The only real practical way to implement an elevator system for that height would be something that doesn't rely on elevator cables, but instead can crawl -- maybe through a maglev-type system -- up the length of the structure. A space craft could then dock at the upper levels and load/unload the cargo.
But another idea, available to Cobra, is to engineer the Mass Device as a smaller "trans-mat" system. Such a system could be installed on a large enough vessel -- the VSS -- and implemented to transport personnel. During the first incarnation of the Mass Device, we saw that the amount of resources consumed by the device was proportional to the amount of matter being transported. In the case of transporting New York City off the face of the Earth, the consumption of the final rare elements was considerable. But transporting a single person or smaller groups of people from orbit should consume far less resources. And if Cobra can substitute the rare elements for alternative elements -- perhaps less efficient but readily available alternatives -- then a practical commonly used transportation system could be built.
One last thing, heavy water and the radioactive isotope that powered the original Mass Device seems easy enough to replicate in a lab -- heavy water is certainly not a challenge to replicate. The only one of the rare elements that might prove a challenge is the one obtained from a meteorite. That meteorite was a considerable size and last seen in possession of the Joe team -- so it must exist still in some government facility. The alternative available to Cobra is direct mining of the asteroid belt. It is hoped that the rare element exists commonly in space. Since Cobra can already venture into space, and make use of BATs for long term space missions, even without a VSS space carrier, mining the asteroid belt for resources is not beyond Cobra's ability.
Upgrading the VSS
VSS 002, being a space carrier, will make use of a smaller, upgraded teleportation system based on the original Mass Device. There should be some interesting dio-story potential with this as well: tracking down the original meteorite and stealing a sample for Cobra scientists to test the feasibility of synthesizing it can make for an interesting story. The same for recovering archived data, whether from a secret Cobra archive facility or direct from a government research site. In any case, VSS 002, once built, will certainly be used for dio-story potential, and the "return" of the Mass Device in Transporter form will be part of it.
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