Anywhere Killer (n.): hypothetical weapons system using an arbitrarily-targetable wormhole generator to deliver ordnance – or convenient non-ordnance, such as stellar cores – to any target location in the galaxy whose coordinates are known or can be inferred, bypassing all defense systems in the intervening space-time.
Naturally, as a strategic first-strike weapon nonpareil, the development, deployment, and/or use of this technology has been banned by every respectable galactic polity.
Naturally, every respectable galactic polity has a research team or twelve squirreled away in secret working on it.
May their theoretical and practical difficulties long continue.
– A Star Traveler’s Dictionary
(Yes, this is the local version of Schlock Mercenary’s “Long Gun” – since people kept asking me about such a thing in the ‘verse.
And to clarify further: those research teams may not know it yet, but those theoretical difficulties are actually, genuinely insurmountable. The only way to inflate a distant wormhole end at a targeted location is the ER=EPR method used by stargates, and so Anywhere Killers are impossible.)
I suspect that long guns wouldn’t be quite as terrifying as they are in Schlock; they need detailed targeting data, so you certainly aren’t going to be hitting anything mobile with them unless you’ve managed to sneak some tangle nearby.
But for anything ‘stationary’? Yikes. You might not get the “SHUT DOWN THE SPACE INTERNET, IT’S TIME FOR THE SPACE COLD WAR!” reaction that nearly happened in Schlock, but it would not be pretty. Best case scenario, the Empire has to incinerate a lot of people and then hold a very visible cache of long guns, with a very clear warning that they will self-defense your nuclei to a respectable fraction of C if you try to make one for yourself.
A sufficiently advanced civilization would use this for pizza delivery.
“The only way to inflate a distant wormhole end at a targeted location is the ER=EPR method used by stargates, and so Anywhere Killers are impossible.”
However, if you were to task them to design a new kind of shower curtain 😉 …
Now what about fittler missiles?
What about fittler missiles?
Sure, you can build ’em – once the frameslip drive has been invented – and it’s highly likely that sometime after 8001 the Nightfall Operations Command will upgrade their Deadpaw-class strategic interstellar missiles to Deadpaw II-class fittle-capable strategic interstellar missiles.
But it’s not like they’re a game-changer, because frameslip is bound by the same space-time stress-energy tensor limitations as stargates – so if you want to shoot at anything inside about the orbit of Uranus, you’ve still got to drop out of fittle and approach under sub-c drive. The only thing they make significantly easier is getting into strategic dickwaving with people off the network.
I thought wormgates were limited to outer system areas because of the dangers if one were to cato? I was under the impression fittlers do not have this restriction. Besides if it does explode, doesn’t that complement its role as a WMD anyway?
That’s one of the reasons for keeping stargates high and out of the way – although if a full kernel goes up, that still won’t save you – but another is that the chaotic elements in the relevant equations are proportional to the stress-energy tensor. The more sharply inflected the space-time you try and run a gate in, the worse the drift gets – and push it too far, and you come out as a light-year long smear of exotic particles.
For the frameslip, the same phenomenon results in worsening envelope stability as space-time becomes more sharply inflected. If you disable the safeties designed to stop you and push it too far, you get catastrophic envelope collapse, with similar consequences – but while the ensuring prompt Cherenkov burst will certainly kill you, it’s not happening in a localized enough manner or anywhere particularly useful to hit anything else with.
Waa this stress energy tensor stuff mentioned in canon before? I can’t seem to find it in any of the wormgate articles.
I… think so? Thought so. Although after this much, I may be misremembering what’s been mentioned in text and what’s just in my notes.
On the other hand, if you leave out the crew and the expectation for a return journey, you’ve just invented the interstellar ballistic missile.
I’m guessing, though, that this doesn’t necessarily rule out a much higher-level ontotechnological workaround of “get root access to Universe.exe and edit the target out of existence”?
Those Watsonian difficulties do not; the Doylist reason for them does.