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I have a team (size can vary depending the answer to this question) that makes ends meet by sneaking through a warzone area and trying to detect a large amount of explosives hidden in for example a vehicle as a trap for when an enemy faction goes through and triggers it. They identify the threat then locate it and diffuse/remove the bomb trap and then get paid for the potential lives they've just saved.

The 2 main aspects I am trying to build into the world, is the type of equipment such a team/person would need to be able to safely identify these explosives in a warzone type environment, and secondly the ways in which they would resupply themselves.

For the detection I would imagine some kind of device/scanner capable of visual identifying or otherwise? And for the resupply I could then create some kind of vendors of this equipment, which depending on what it is, they could either be fairly mainstream or more underground. The team/person would generally be quite mobile however if really necessary I suppose they could setup some kind of heavier equipment in a single secure location for several hours, although I would imagine the range on such equipment would then need to be better to compensate for the lack of mobility.

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    $\begingroup$ in Cambodia, they use rats to sniff the landmines not sure if the rats will be more high ranking than their handlers just like K9 unit ;D $\endgroup$
    – user6760
    Commented Dec 6, 2021 at 1:24
  • $\begingroup$ That's interesting. I am probably looking more for some kind of equipment/device a person can more directly control so that detection can happen for a sight where the enemy is as well, without alerting them to what you are doing eg. remotely or from a distance. $\endgroup$
    – FrontEnd
    Commented Dec 6, 2021 at 1:32
  • $\begingroup$ Much more information needed: Is available technology comparable to Earth today (2021)? Or significantly more or less advanced. What sort of a "warzone" is it - all-out war, long-disputed border area, counter-insurgency or something else? Are the freelancers working for the side with air superiority? Is the physical environment an Earth-like land area (if so what sort of climate and vegetation) or something exotic (vacuum, underwater, weird atmosphere)? Are the explosives typically being moved around or buried charges? Etc, etc etc $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 6, 2021 at 5:11
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    $\begingroup$ In a war zone this would be the responsibility of specialized groups within the army; and they would not get paid for it, it would be what they do as their regular duty. See Kathryn Bigelow's Hurt Locker (2008) for an artistic depiction of life in a U.S. Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit during the Iraq War. (The film won 6 Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director.) $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Commented Dec 6, 2021 at 5:19
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    $\begingroup$ @AlexP 2 possibilities - multiple guerilla-type groups fighting each other; multiple guerilla-type groups that don't trust each other (or cells that don' t record locations) fighting a common enemy (perhaps an organised army - we've seen this in Syria and Iraq, for example). When one moves into territory mined by the other they have to clear the IEDs. NB I only said that a proper army was needed for clearing US-style, not that they needed to be involved at all $\endgroup$
    – Chris H
    Commented Dec 6, 2021 at 12:53

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EOD/mine detection is a real thing

Specialized equipment operated and maintained by specialists/contractors, because the regular forces don't have it and/or the procurement is easier that way. Say there is one budget for contractors and another for the regular army.

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One of your characters built it.

He is a weird dude but he has serious gifts. He could never be in the military and probably could not hold down a regular job. But he can make things. He made the bomb finders (there are 4). You can have him explain how they work. No-one understands him. He might try again to explain, using a piece of music he wrote. His sister rubs his shoulders and tells him it is ok.

Fortunately for him, his sister is not weird at all. She does not get how any of it works but he knew she would use the tech and he made it easy for her to use. She has leveraged her brother's ability into this mercenary gig tracking down bombs using the tech her brother made. She (and her teammates) can broker the interaction with the military forces who pay them for their efforts. The logistics and resupply are not tough; they are locals and other team members handle this.

Her brother asks her to bring him stuff. He has made other things besides the bomb finders. That is all he does. Some are very useful things. Some are very concerning things.

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  • $\begingroup$ That tells me a great deal about an interesting character, but in a general sense what would these bomb finder gadgets realistically do to find what they're looking for? Would it be some kind of scanning device using thermal/sonar for example? I don't need to know the full tech, just hint at enough that it sounds plausible. Eg. can a handheld device be able to achieve this, or would it need to be something big and stationary that needs to be hooked up to a computer? $\endgroup$
    – FrontEnd
    Commented Dec 6, 2021 at 5:00
  • $\begingroup$ @FrontEnd - have both. Have the users struggle some about which is best in what situation. If this is the Hurt Locker then you need to stick to real things and research how those folks do it. If the idea of a savant inventor appeals to you, have some unorthodox things. Maybe a robot character who is a little flying drone scout. An ULF scanner that returns reading from huge areas. The good thing about making stuff up is that you don't have to know real things. $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    Commented Dec 6, 2021 at 13:29
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Explosive detecting rats! (And or dogs - just not together because ... well you can guess the reason.)

enter image description here

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No tech.

trackers

https://africageographic.com/stories/master-trackers-kruger/

Your bomb finders suss out the bombs using their senses. They know when something looks like a bomb. They know what it looks like when people have come to place a bomb. They can tell if there is more than one bomb. They travel light and they look for signs.

One of them knows how to take apart bombs. It is because he has made a lot of bombs. He has the same tools he used to use to make them, and now he uses those to take them apart.

It can be dangerous work. They do not get blown up (yet) but people living in the area know what the bomb finders are doing and they do not always like it. Fortunately, the bomb finders also know when it is likely they will get shot while working on a bomb. They go about things differently if that is the case.

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