Advanced Weaponry

A particle-laser is a high energy particle beam directed to a target by an ionizing laser. They can be pulsed (or phased) or sustained beams of electrons, ionized gas (usually helium), or, more rarely, positrons.

Electron particle-lasers will burn through skin, boil internal fluids, and disrupt nervous systems. They can also create deadly levels of X-Ray via Bremsstrahlung interaction (or breaking radiation) if it collides with a lead surface, thus the weapon penetrates most gamma ray shielding, great for killing off people hiding in a solar-storm shelter. There is a slight threat of bounce-back radiation exposure, so it is recommended that one only fire this weapon while properly shielded.

Ion particle-lasers rely more on the kinetic impact of the high energy particles than any heat or residual effects of the interaction. The mass of particles combined with the near-lightspeed velocities combine to have a similar effect of hitting someone with a train. The projected energy is considered alpha radiation, so there are health risks associated with chronic exposure to reflected energy, but not as much so as the electron beams and certainly much less than the positron beams.

Positron particle-lasers are much rarer and mostly used in a vacuum as the beam tends to detonate violently in an atmosphere, although some ionizing laser systems are capable of clearing a vacuum through which the particles may travel safely. Upon impact with a target, the positrons undergo anti-matter annihilation, releasing incredible amounts of energy often vaporizing the target instantly. The resulting explosion also releases large amounts of gamma rays and x-rays, which can possibly kill surrounding targets or disrupt ships' systems. These weapons are usually mounted for ship-to-ship combat, but are sometimes used in conjunction with heavily shielded combat suits or Mecha-armor.

The weapons can come in multiple configurations, from personal fire arms including pistols, assault rifles, and sniper rifles, to vehicle mounted cannons and even planetary defense. Most hand held weapons of this nature are pulsed, as it only takes a brief burst of energy to render a single opponent incapacitated. Anti-ship or vehicle weapons often have a sustained beam. Some hand-held devices are adjustable in this respect.

The power systems come in a range of sizes and styles. Of course, vehicular mounted systems draw power from the central reactor core. Personal firearms require portable energy packs, usually in the form of batteries. Ion style particle-lasers require an additional ion pack, while the proton version requires an antimatter containment pack. Batteries, generators, and ammunition can be self contained magazines, backpacks, or integrated into armor.

The power needed to emit these particle beams is so great that the self-contained magazine batteries are often made of extremely volatile, highly energy-dense materials. Weapons designers take advantage of this, and most particle-laser clips can also be set to detonate on their own as grenades or bombs. These highly volatile materials are often very difficult if not impossible to recharge, and must be discarded. The exception to this is antimatter containers, which can be refueled from a generator.

Since the particle beams are magnetic in nature, a strong enough magnetic field can deflect or absorb the incoming particle beam. Armors can be lined with microscopic wires to create a Faraday cage, reducing the effectiveness of electron beams. Ion particle beams can be stopped by layers of kinetic resistant armor. Positron beams require an ablative surface to neutralize them, but these usually don't last long.

Railguns are weapons systems which launch a small metallic projectile at near-light speeds using a magnetic force generated between two rails. The projectile uses sheer kinetic energy to destroy its target. The system can fire extremely rapidly, delivers a hell of a punch, but requires enormous amounts of power. Early systems were restricted to space and naval warfare, but as more power-dense batteries and generators were invented, smaller systems were built. They are great for use in space as they have no moving parts (other than auto-loading features) and thus do not require the grease or oils that render traditional firearms useless in a vacuum.

As with particle-lasers, the power requirements are quite large. A magazine for a railgun will usually include both ammunition and a battery. This battery is often extremely volatile, and the magazine can be used as a fragmentation grenade.

Personal railgun calibers are measured in microns or sometimes sub-mircons and can be very difficult to extract from a patient if thrown from a fragmentation explosion. Even though the bullet is very, very small, its sheer muzzle velocity can cause extreme damage to a target, often exploding chest cavities. The rapid fire feature on most weapons allows the user to create almost a "laser" beam of micro bullets, although this can have a hell of a kickback.

Since the bullets by nature are magnetic, they can be deflected by a strong magnetic field. Other ballistic armors, such as spider-webbing or ceramics, can be used to reduce their effectiveness, although much thicker layers are required as compared to traditional firearms.

Directed Energy Weapons
Directed energy weapons use either pressure waves or electromagnetic waves to incapacitate a target. Often, these are non-lethal.

Directed Energy Weapons include sonic weapons either as irritants or concussive blasts, pain guns which use a microwave frequency to directly irritate the nerves, soft lasers used either to simply dazzle or blind a target, or thermal lasers that can do real damage.

None of these systems (except some thermal lasers) require the amount of power output as particle-lasers or railguns, so their battery systems are often simple, rechargeable, and non-volatile.

The disadvantage of a thermal laser over a particle-laser is that the thermal laser often requires a sustained beam over a period of time to start doing any significant damage. Some very high-power vehicle mounted units are capable of vaporizing a human in a short burst, but these are impractical for that kind of use. The advantage of a thermal laser is much lower power requirements, but it takes longer. Magnetic shields are useless against them, but sufficient heat shielding or reflective surfaces will limit or stop the effects. They also do not emit radiation nor have any threat of secondary radiation effects, so they are much safer for the user.


Doc said...

I know I'm going to have to reread this a couple of times before it sinks in. The railgun I'm vaguely familiar with, but the rest is a bit taxing on my public school science education.

Keep going, you are doing grand.


Doc said...

I don't think I want to go anywhere, any time soon, where some of this might be used against me.