Particle Weapons

Having been theorized as a possible weapon design for some time, particle weapons are a very recent discovery that have been put into use within the last thirty years. While plasma weapons have been the main form of energy-based weaponry for several thousand years, they do have extreme limitations that are being addressed by the advancing field of particle weapons.

Particle weapons by their very nature have been something difficult to control in a regular and reliable fashion since development on them began for the first time in they years before and during the AI Wars. After trillions of credits were spent between the various weapon manufacturers the idea of a true particle weapon was eventually abandoned in favor of improving the existing designs of plasma and railgun weapons of the day.

As of 3250 TSC there had been virtually zero additional research done with the idea, occasional moments of reattempting it would occur but all were given up rather quickly. This changed in the year 3258 when an experiment into generating a stable teleportation field suddenly had a catastrophic failure and the entire apparatus was annihilated. Upon review of the last moments of the experiment, researchers discovered something incredible. The collapsing field, now known as the Eisener Field, of the teleporter generated a high energy beam of superheated neutron-plasma of astounding power.

Working from this, the designers changed a few of the elements of the transporter design around to manage the collapse of this field rather than support it. In the end they were able to successfully create a method of repeatedly causing a field collapse that would generate the neutron beam. With 99.9% of the energy used to power the weapon going into each shot it gave an efficiency level that is impossible for any design to match. The best plasma weapons top out at 40% and even the most advanced railguns are incapable of reaching an efficiency beyond 55%. The end result is what has been dubbed the Type I particle beam.

The beam itself is very dense and focused, causing massive amounts of damage upon impact. The interesting aspect that researchers have not yet been able to understand is that this weapon system lacks almost any recoil whatsoever despite the high velocity and high mass the weapon operates with. Speculation that the matter is coming through a form of hyperspace gate has been suggested but the design of the weapon leaves no room for monitoring equipment to examine the moment at which the beam is formed and fired.

An offshoot came from the initial design of particle weapons as well. Trying to find the limits of how small of a beam could be created, researches stumbled upon a interesting side effect. As the the field was reduced to around 10mm in size it had a characteristic that became very pronounced. Measuring the stability of the field had been done by a simple proton scanner that would measure the fluctuations as precisely as possible. One researcher eventually noticed something astonishing. The area on the wall facing the muzzle of the weapon had begun to deteriorate over the time, given that the walls of the lab are shielded and reinforced to prevent accidents from destroying a large area it was conceived to be an impossible feat.

As it turns out, the field when reduced in size also became a very powerful form of particle accelerator. This was adapted into the Type II particle beam which uses a very narrow Eisener field to accelerate a stream of protons (ionized Hydrogen), to near the speed of light. While not as powerful with a single shot as the Type I, the Type II is capable of sustaining a beam for upwards of 15 seconds before the Eisener field dissolved rather than collapsed.

The Type II particle beam does not receive the same benefit of lacking recoil as the Type I does, however, it still maintains an efficiency of around 90% at a 50m range. This drops off by about 1% for every additional 10 meters due to the proton beam's natural tendency to disperse in the absence of a controlling magnetic field. The recoil was managed with a variable input of material for the weapon to use. At the moment of firing, the feed of gases begins to increase in linear fashion, reaching its peak at 4 seconds and continuing with that rate until either the Eisener field dissolves or the beam is shut off by release of the trigger.

While both particle weapon systems provide an incredible level of power and accuracy, they are still very early on in their development. Cost is another issue with each prototype running nearly 100 times the cost of a standard-issue railgun or plasma weapon and this does not seem to be changing anytime soon with how relatively new the technology involved is. Needless to say, control of each weapon is tightly monitored and calling the design "top secret" would be an extreme understatement at this point, despite the fact that several variants of both types of particle weaponry have been seen in use on the battlefield already.

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