In this series of articles – The Tech Side – I continue expanding on various bits of assorted tech, what gave me the ideas for them, and a little about what I did with them in various stories.
This time, I’ll be taking a quick look at sonic pulse weapons!
The sonic pulse weapon is a type of hand-held energy weapon I introduce to the reader in “Prodigal Sun“. Although generally marketed in the distant past in military assault-weapon form for use by military and paramilitary forces in the employ of the Terran government, there are civilian versions used for home defense and hunting applications. The most common type in circulation is a rifle-length multi-shot repeater (semi-automatic) and semi-automatic pistol models. These weapons are produced by various manufacturers independently around the Empire.
A lot of cartridge-firing conventional weapons are still popular and in public circulation at this time, although not by the Terran armed forces who long ago switched to energy weapons due to their improved capabilities and endurance.
In “Prodigal Sun” and “High Steaks“, the sonic pulse weapons are generally used by the bad guys – the Deannan Service League (D.S.L.) and its paramilitary arm, the Deannan Republican Army (D.R.A.). Terran armed forces had long ago moved away from sonic pulse weapons mainly because of the brutal damage these machines inflict on a living target – there is an almost zero chance of survival for any creature around the same size as a Human or smaller, that is struck by a single sonic burst!
As we can conclude, this sort of weapon is incompatible with the sort of benevolent mindset prevalent in the thinking of the state at that time. Consequently, Terran armed forces retired sonic pulse weapons from front-line duty, and moved on to pure energy weapons such as blasters with non-lethal and scaleable settings. In “High Steaks” however, the loyalist militia side of what is rapidly becoming the Deannan Uncivil War, was in desperate need of military grade weaponry, and a long-lost, fogotten cache of these terrible weapons is brought to light for the occasion! Both sides are likely to field these awful weapons – generally referred to a “pulse rifles” for short – against each other in the coming battles on Deanna. Unlike the Loyalist Militia, it’s unlikely that the DRA troops would feel any sense of guilt over using weapons like this.
More about sonic pulse weapons
In general, a sonic pulse rifle is accurate and deadly enough across 100 meters, and at close range it could blast a hole the size of a football through a humanoid body without the ultrasonic burst losing any effect or potency. In fact it might probably still have enough latent energy left to punch a shallow crater the size of a tennis ball into a solid concrete wall behind that!
Since these bursts are sonic in nature, they are invisible in the same way that a bullet is invisible – although some high-speed distortion is visible as a result of the blast wave of each burst as it is generated and travels from the barrel. There is also a slight kick applied to the user at the same time. Since it is a sound weapon, the bursts travel at the speed of sound, and would only be audible by the dull whoosh they make as they pass by.
The casings of most energy weapons – and the sonic pulse rifle is a form of energy weapon – are usually made of duranium alloy, with the usual plasti-steel moldings, inserts and moisture seals. These weapons come with fittings for slings, and often there are extras such as collapsable or detachable stocks, bayonets etc.
The “magazine” for the weapon – which is a battery – is referred to as a “power-pack” and consists of a high-yield, long life energy storage unit which is detchable and can be easily ejected and a fresh unit inserted in its place. Mostly a single power-pack (“power-pax” in plural) has enough juice to fire roughly 200 bursts before requiring reloading.
[Incidentally, in order to see the rest of these articles in this series, click on the category name The Tech Side.]
- The Tech Side #5: Tech To Die For – Slamtorpedoes
- The Tech Side #6: A Basic Guide To The Transmatter
To sum up
Well, that’s the starship weapons hub in it’s simplest form!
That about covers it! I hope I’ve explained everything in a way that’s easily understood! I really enjoyed translating my original hand-drawn sketches into digital blueprint diagrams for this article, and I think they look pretty neat that way!
Until next time,
If you’re reading this long after it was posted, click “The Tech Side” to see a list of all the articles posted in this series!
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All material copyright © Christina Engela, 2019.