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Old February 1 2009, 08:00 PM   #12
Crazy Eddie
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Re: Applied Treknology (Scotty of the Gaps)

Phasers and Torpedoes
"Phaser" stands for "photon amplification by stimulated emission of radiation". Phasers are coherent energy weapons of a similar nature to standard laser beams using extremely high-energy photons--Nu photons or "nadions"--at an energy level above cosmic and even gamma rays. Phaser energy is released in highly controlled frequency modulations designed to cause specific effects on target materials. Most of their effect comes from quantum resonance, matching the nadion pulse to the exact vibrational frequency of specific subatomic particles, depending on their rest energy. For example, the stun setting involves a resonance frequency optimized to excite free electrons, which may cause widespread uncontrolled depolarizations in a target's nervous system, or disrupt the normal functioning of electronic systems. The disruptor settings would excite protons, instantly ionizing the target at the atomic level, causing either thermal damage or even vaporization (and phasers set to vaporize a person would instantly turn a huge chunk of that person into an expanding cloud of ash, not unlike stabbing someone in the chest with an active plasma torch; you can't vaporize an elephant by shooting it in the toenail).

Phaser beams travel at the speed of light. Because of considerations of special relativity, starship phasers always travel at the speed of light with respect to all observes, even at warp speeds. There is therefore no practical reason why phasers cannot be used at warp speeds, although the relatively short effective range (up to two hundred thousand kilometers) make them difficult to use at FTL speeds.

Photon torpedoes are propelled by a gravitational "spike," which is basically the opposite of a gravity well. It is similar to a warp field, but it cannot be used for maneuvering. For this reason, photon torpedoes can only be fired on a line of sight to the target (something more or less in front of the launcher) with terminal guidance coming from arrays of divert thrusters mounted on the body. The warhead is a matter-antimatter annihilation warhead, the detonation of which drives the production of a modulated nadion pulse, similar to a phaser blast in its effects, but without a coherent energy pattern.

Quantum torpedoes are basically miniature warp nacelles with a tiny warp core in the nose of them. In general they are propelled to their target in the same manner as photon torpedoes, however the matter-antimatter charge is combined near a dilithium assembly such that most of the products of the reaction are charged relativistic pions; these are then reacted with the subspace coils in the torpedo casing, producing a powerful gravitational shockwave in all directions. This type of weapon renders shields and deflectors virtually useless, since the gravitational shockwave will heavily disrupt the physical structure of the ship no matter how well it's defended.
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