Thanks, at some point I probably will add more to this series.
About the turrets:
In the novel MacArthur had gun turrets; numerous references are made to MacArthur’s gunnery teams tracking targets during the initial contact with the asteroid miner, and later when the ship arrives from Mote Prime. They look tiny because MacArthur is friggen gigantic, roughly twice the size of our largest wet Navy aircraft carrier. So scale can fool the eye in this image. The Neutral Particle Beam Cannon are much larger, because in real life they would be, I crafted my model along the same lines as the SDI system pictured on this page from Winchell Chung’s Atomic Rocket’s site: Particle Beam Weapons. Somewhere on Scott Lowther’s blog a diagram gives dimensions for that particular weapon, I’d have to track it down to quote numbers, but you can do that as easily as I, search terms: Unwanted Blog, SDI should do the trick.
Nah, here’s why:
1. Because a multi-million degree fusion exhaust is a weapon of mass destruction. MacArthur’s fusion drive, coupled with the Langston field, make the ship as near to invulnerable from attack (from that particular quarter) as possible.
MacArthur is propelled by a high grade fusion drive – she meets the definition of Torchship. A torch drive is a propulsion system with a thrust power of 150 gigawatts or higher, capable of accelerating at one g for days at a time, with obscenely high delta V ratings. (Note: MacArthur could actually accelerate at more than 3 g for days at a time.)
Remember the Kzinti lesion: “A reaction drive's efficiency as a weapon is in direct proportion to its efficiency as a drive.”
Firing MacArthur’s drive generates a star-hot sword of fusion flame hundreds of kilometers in length (yes, in space this meets the definition of “short range”). Using MHD effects to impose throat deflection and/or nozzle expansion it can be welded as a fearsome weapon in itself.
2. The Neutral Particle Beam Cannon can swivel to fire directly aft.
3. The ring of laser emitters on MacArthur’s circular flying-wing provide a cone of antimissile fire which can fire rearward, extending a defense perimeter which encompasses the star-hot region of the fusion torch exhaust, a missile or ship navigating around the fusion cone (while MacArthur’s helm wobbles the drive-flame around in an entertaining manner) would enter the laser defense perimeter and the direct field of fire of the Neutral Particle Beam Cannon.