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Reality Check on action scene

  1. Apr 19, 2014 #1


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    Hey guys, my wife and I are writing a short story and I wanted to perform a reality check on the following scene and see what changes might be needed to make it possible.

    In the scene we have written the main character has enhanced speed and strength and she gets attacked in her home, during the course of combat she tosses her assailant through an aquarium that is embedded in the wall. the way the scene is currently written the assailant goes through the tank and comes out on the other end, and survives the sequence. The tank is expossed on both ends of the wall and the thickness is negotiable.

    Reading over the scene I can guess some things need to change. I am assuming that said assailant would not survive the trip considering the force needed to shove them through the tank. My question is: is it possible at all? Ie. if the tank were thinner or if the structure of the tank had been breached with gun fire, would they make it through and live to be questioned afterwards or would they wind up a bag of jelly no matter which way this went?

    thanks in advance for any tips or corrections or "get the hell out of here that is crazy talk".
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2014
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 19, 2014 #2


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    Well, give us the dimensions of the aquarium as you'd like it to be.
  4. Apr 19, 2014 #3


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    Well initially I was thinking (60"L x 18"W x 40"H) however I am flexible as the dimensions of the tank arnt given in the scene save for the fact that it divided the wall between the dining room an kitchen. so I was more interested if the scene was technically possible at all.

    The other option is that the tank is not embedded in the wall but rather sitting in a cavity in the wall but is not anchored to it so that when the hostile party is thrown into it, it might be displaced. my main concern was that all of these events require tremendous amounts of force an I wasn't sure if a human body, even one of a hardened soldier could survive.
  5. Apr 21, 2014 #4
    If he manages to hit hands-first then he'd be slowed down by the time he hits, and the sharp glass would be more likely to cut arms then head. (Do fish tanks use auto-style safety glass?)

    You might also have him hit the wall under the tank, and have the tank fall down on him. Or the reverse - he hits right at the top of the tank, pushing the outer glass wall in, and breaking it below his actual contact point.

    If the wall is strong enough to support the tank, then it must have support beams that would be 18 - 24 inches apart. That would cause more damage then the tank.
  6. Apr 26, 2014 #5
    If you make the aquarium out of tempered glass(and yes a lot are made that way) then your bad guy who maybe has a ring(s) on his hand(s) or maybe a knife in his hands then that small hard metal impacting at high sped will shatter the glass but it will explode into a huge amount of non-jagged round or cube shapes. Another thing is the bad guy could have a gun and hit it with that huge force from your super strong guy. That way you could decide how much he was injured by how badly do you want this guy hurt for the story? Is he a main antagonist type? If so I would suggest using the explosion of the glass to make his escape. He could be blinded in one or both eyes. He could be cut some,especially on the face, which might make the bad guy even more angry because he has been disfigured. Realistically you can give him as many or as few injuries as you want and retain story reality and integrity.

    If you are interested in more help on things I am happy to help. I do have experience in the publishing world as an author.It sounds like doing a little collaborating(if and only if you want to) I would be most happy and willing to help.

    The Logician
  7. Sep 9, 2014 #6
    I'd like to have another question, I didnt want to open another topic for that, the title seemed good.

    While according to TV trope, the test failed, that you could incapacitate someone with a stun gun, as it was in the Stallone movie, simply pushing it into water, however, does it sound realistic, that you throw a wet towel to the stun gun, so the attacker zaps his own hand?
  8. Sep 14, 2014 #7
    perhaps the glass could be cracked earlier in the fight scene and a lot of the water could spill out making the floor slippery during the fight putting the girl speed and strength to her disadvantage. If the tank is destroyed in the scene anyway why not set up a plausible explanation for how the attacker goes through it early to save time explaining it later. Also if he is attacking super strong people knowingly one would assume he would wear some form of body armor and head protection. As for the wall? Going through the wall as well might be pushing it.

    I know you wanted science and I'm not a scientist but I hope this helps.

    The wet towel makes sense to me though. From what I know you get burns where the electricity goes in and where it comes out. The wet towel so long as it is dripping wet should conduct the electricity to the mans flesh and as long as he is grounded he should know about it. The electrocution would cause his muscles to contract and grip tighter to the taser as well, thereby closing a loop on cause and effect that is inescapable.
  9. Sep 15, 2014 #8


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    Thanks guys. This helps. so with this information it looks like there might be a gun struggle and one of the shots would puncture the tank, then the badguy will go through the damaged tank wall and come out wet and scratched up and make their fair escape.

    @Luka : The attacker was actually unaware of the Girl's abilities and is caught by complete surprise.
  10. Sep 15, 2014 #9
    Look forward to reading it when your writing team is finished. Action oriented scifi's my personal scifi of choice.
  11. Sep 16, 2014 #10


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    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  12. Sep 16, 2014 #11


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    If a bullet went through the tank, wouldn't the safety glass immediately crumble into thousands of pieces and all the water would drain out? The bad guy is knocked through the opening into the other room and makes his escape, eh?
  13. Sep 16, 2014 #12


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    That looks like the only way I can make it work. I haven't come up with any figures but I imagine being pushed through a tank of water like that would be like getting shoved through a cement wall. there is no way the bad guy would be alive, much less conscious and running away.
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