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Chapter 04: Page 14
Originally posted on:07/02/2007
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Chapter 04: Page 14

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Fun with Guns
These are not ballistic weapons, like 21st century guns. Since objects in space will maintain their present momentum unless affected by a gravity well, bullets retain their lethality no matter what the range. A bullet fired hundreds of thousands of kilometres away is still just as lethal when it strikes its target as one fired at point-blank range. After a series of incidents where civilians were killed as the result of distant fire - one of which saw the death of seventy-two passengers on a cruise-liner - ballistic weapons were declared illegal in space. Thus all space-going weapons, from ship's canons down to hand-guns, are plasma or energy based as these forms of fire become less effective over range.

The guns in today's page mostly shoot concentrated plasma bolts, which rely more on heat than kinetic energy to do damage. This also makes them less likely to breach a ship's hull when fired inside. Hal's baby is a Lance Rifle which behaves differently - it shoots a focused beam of energy which hits instantly, like the weapon used by the JAK in chapter 1 or the heavy lance which destroyed the Danzig in the prologue. Lances are designed to cut through matter, like a LASER, and can cause hull-breaches if used carelessly. Most governments require citizens to hold special licenses before they can purchase and use a lance.

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