Lightning Strikes

from the Eye-in-the-Flame Arms internal memeweave archives

From: Aldysis Cyprium (Directorate)
To: Diziet Cyprium (Director of Entertaining Research)

It’s not that we’re dismissing the potential of FULGURANT TRIBULATION, cousin.

From a purely commercial point of view, the potential of an algetic weapon capable of wide-area application from orbit is obviously something that can’t be ignored by the Directorate, filling several niches in the area denial and riot quietus areas, not to mention the spin-off civilian applications in weather control and flood recovery.

And obviously the technical advances you have made in tunable millimeter-wave magnetrons and beam focusing arrays, not to mention the systems designed to calibrate for and manage atmospheric moisture attenuation, are a tour de force; this goes without saying.

However, as a condition of the licensing arrangement for some of the feeder technologies with Extropa and Orbital Light & Power, we need to work out ways to ensure that FULGURANT TRIBULATION units, under whatever marketing name, can be clearly differentiated from orbit-to-ground power transmission satellites. They have concerns that if the differentiation is not adequate, in addition to making civilian power infrastructure a target, it might also impact sales of their solar power system products. While there are key differences in the antenna structure, these may only be obvious only to trained engineers.

Phyllí Desumé of OL&P Engineering suggested that in addition to purely cosmetic alterations, perhaps we could eliminate the onboard power generation segment entirely, and operate the FULGURANT TRIBULATION satellites in partnership with an existing power generation infrastructure, taking and regenerating a microwave power beam from another satellite. It seems to me that this would add flexibility to the deployment of FULGURANT TRIBULATION, especially when deployed in the field, as well as further differentiating them from power system satellites. Let me have your thoughts soonest?

On another note, I look forward to seeing you and the others of your household at Aunt Chamyría’s soirée next month. You must permit me to introduce you to Laïre Oricalcios, whom I have every hope will be joining the family in a few short years.

Your affectionate cousin,


…And The Strength Of The Wolf Is The Pack

The MMR-144 Parasol rockets launcher.

No, it’s not a rocket launcher. It’s a rockets launcher.

That’s because the MMR-144 fires a single unguided projectile which acts as a bus for twelve smart missiles, which deploy at the apex of its trajectory and hunt target areas according to their programmed profiles.

Yes, we said target areas. Upon reaching terminal guidance, each smart missile separates into another twelve penetrating guided warheads, each capable of seeking out and mission-killing an independent target, for a sky-darkening total of one hundred and forty-four kills per firing.

The MMR-144 Parasol rockets launcher. For when you really want to throw some shade.

– from an Eye-in-the-Flame Arms interactive advertisement


Yeah, Maybe Not That Short

Academician Sesca Galith stepped up behind the podium, and tapped it gently to begin. The audience quieted rapidly as she held up a wickedly-pointed poniard, of oddly-textured metal, with lights gleaming white and amber in its hilt, whose image was repeated on the displayed behind her.

“Presenting, gentlesophs, the latest in field interrogation technology from Eye-in-the-Flame’s cognitive weaponry division. This little tool is our ripknife, a guaranteed instrumentality for extracting information when it is both necessary and urgent. Using a nanitic burning-scan reader, when emplaced in the cerebral cavity of a target via some vulnerable aperture or thinness, the ripknife creates a high-resolution destructive scan of the neural network of their brain’s essential regions, then uploads it via your tactical mesh network to your battlespace command center. There, static mind-state analysis or fork interrogation using our patented NEUROLAUNDRY ™ software will lay your target’s secrets bare within minutes, and relay useful information back to you over the mesh. There is no better way to ensure field data acquisition proceeds rapidly enough to keep you inside the opposition’s command-and-control loop –”

A grizzled kaeth in the audience coughed. “Doc, we’re all just simple mercenaries here. Give us the short version?”

“Find someone knowledgeable on the other side, then stick it through the eye socket and wait until the light turns blue. Ignore the dripping. Then you know what they know. Knew.”


Trope-a-Day: Marked Bullet

Marked Bullet: You can actually buy gun add-ons to engrave the flechettes (with elegant and situationally relevant haiku, even, in the case of the Eye-in-the-Flame Warrior-Poet Gun) – granted, it’s too small to read with the naked eye, and it’s almost impossible that it will be readable post-impact – as you fire them, if you really want to make a point of this sort of thing, but it’s not exactly a practical device.

(And anyway… like they say, it’s not the bullet with your name on it you should worry about, it’s all the thousands of bullets labeled “To whom it may concern.”)

Trope-a-Day: IKEA Weaponry

IKEA Weaponry: There are a number of these, mostly analogous to their real-world equivalents.  The exception is Eye-in-the-Flame Arms’s Puzzle Pistol, which is a 3D puzzle made from geometric chunks of blue-black diamondoid that can be disassembled from its polyhedral resting form and reassembled into an oddly-shaped cartridge (i.e., non-mass-driver) pistol capable of firing a single preloaded slug.  It’s really more of an executive toy than a practical weapon, but has occasionally been used in practice…

And there’s the way that most weapons are usually assembled from modular components in the first place, sometimes in the field by nanolathes, but those usually don’t come apart again afterwards.

The Breakfast Of Champions


The final entry in this section, affectionately known to the Imperial Legions as the “Big Ugly Breakfast 1” – and less affectionately known to almost everyone else as “Good gods, what is that thing?” – is the Flapjack-class cavalry dropship (Eye-in-the-Flame Arms/Artifice Armaments). Uniquely among Imperial starship designs, the Flapjack has adopted the rare “disk” or “saucer” hull form. It does this because the Flapjack-class is equipped with not merely a single, but a pair of nuclear-pulse drives, using the relatively environmentally friendly laser-fusion or (in the Flapjack II) antimatter options, the descent and deceleration drives; the dorsal and ventral hulls of these ships are in effect simply the pusher plates for these drives. The main body of the vessel, suspended between these on hydraulic dampers, is a short, wide cylinder, heavily structurally reinforced and itself surrounded by  “sidewall” armor as thick and refractory as the pusher plates.

The intended usage of the Flapjack is orbital insertion of armored vehicles, en masse, into hot zones. To enable this, after being decoupled from a carrier in the high orbitals of a planet under attack, the Flapjack uses its descent drive to accelerate downwards through the atmosphere, minimizing dwell time within range of orbital and anti-air defenses. In addition, while the descent of a Flapjack obviously has far too bright a sensor signature to be concealed, the combination of the radiation hash from the descent drive’s thrust bombs and the plasma sheath formed by its hypersonic atmospheric transit together render it extremely difficult for weapons systems to attain successful guidance lock, and terminal guidance (especially to the fine degree necessary to insert a weapon into the narrow window of vulnerability between the pusher plates and the sidewall armor, even if the weapon is capable of surviving and maneuvering in the immediate environment of an active nuclear-pulse drive) virtually impossible.

At the end of its descent trajectory, the Flapjack uses the more powerful thrust bombs of its deceleration drive to perform a “suicide burn”; i.e., maximal deceleration at minimum altitude, compatible with lithobraking in a manner which preserves the integrity of the ventral pusher plate. This deceleration burn serves the additional functions of preparing the drop zone for the arrival of the dropship by flattening any structures or prepared defenses, and eliminating any but the most heavily armored, secured, and radiation-proofed resistance in the immediate area. Once the ground is reached, multiple armored cargo access doors with integral ramps and excavation drones permit the Flapjack to be actively discharging combat vehicles within minutes of a successful landing.

A proposal for an infantry dropship along the lines of the Flapjack, tentatively designated the Pancake-class, has been advanced by Eye-in-the-Flame Arms, but at the present time the high-radiation aftermath of such a vessel’s landing is not considered viable for personnel wearing M-70 Havoc combat exoskeletons or N45 Garrex field combat armor, the current legionary standards. While this would not be a problem for troops equipped with the specialized N45r Callérás high-rad field combat armor, its associated disadvantages and the expense of refit ensure that, for the foreseeable future, infantry will continue to be landed via drop shuttle (q.v.)

– Naval Starships of the Associated Worlds, INI Press, Palaxias, 421st ed.

1. A statistically improbable number of combat drops take place at planet dawn.

Trope-a-Day: Hand Cannon

Hand Cannon: You can, indeed, fit some bloody powerful mass drivers into handgun-sized weapons, these days – although even with recoil compensation, etc., it helps to have some of those military-grade musculoskeletal reinforcements – and some way to brace yourself – if you plan on firing the things comfortably or with any reasonable degree of accuracy.

There are even a couple of handgun-sized slugguns on the market, if you feel like a one-handed gyroc-grenade launcher is just what the doctor ordered.  (And Eye-in-the-Flame Arms, outré as ever, sells a sluggun derringer – which, yes, you could theoretically load with an slugfire antimatter grenade – although even by the Empire’s loose standards, the crossover market between “small, concealable suitable-for-waistcoat-pockets-and-ladies’-purses gun” and “can snipe buildings” is… not exactly huge.)

[As a side note, while it is entirely in keeping with the Eye-in-the-Flame design process – which is to say, getting as high as possible on creativity-enhancing nootropic drugs and ignoring entirely the coquetries of practicality – I was a mite concerned about the reader-credibility of this particular example of their products.

Then I learned about this real-world product, a derringer chambered for .81/20 mm, which is to say the type of shells used in Vulcan autocannon. And that they’re planning a 30 mm version.

I rest my case.]

You Can’t Sheathe It, Either

“Excuse me?  Could you tell me why this sword is so highly priced?”

“Ah, that’s because this is a mollyblade.  The edge is single-layer graphene, less than a nanometer thick.  It’ll slice cleanly through anything but muon metals, gluon string or neutronium – or antimatter, of course – and we can make-to-order one for you that’ll slice muon metals, too.”  The shopkeeper carefully slashed the blade through the air.  “See the glow around the tip, where the blade moves fastest?  Dissociated air molecules recombining.  It’s that sharp.”

“And that costs a million esteyn?”

“Well, not strictly speaking.  The problem with the mollyblade is that a blade that sharp is also fragile.  It damn near blunts itself on air molecules, too, which is a problem a lot of the lab applications don’t have.  So what you pay most of that million for is the on-the-fly resharpening system that keeps it that way while you’re hacking and slashing with it.”

“Which is…?”

“Proprietary.  Very proprietary.”

– overheard in an Eye-in-the-Flame retail outlet

Trope-a-Day: BFG

BFG: Oh, several.  Let’s start with “that created by any excuse to shove antimatter rifle-grenades in your sluggun (see: Abnormal Ammo) or battle carbine and cut loose”, shall we?  There are also a variety of multibarrel miniguns, and yes, hypothetically even some that you can shove antimatter rifle-grenades into (see: More Dakka).

Specific examples would include the S-11i Mamabear, a souped-up sluggun which requires heavy bone reinforcement of most species in order to cope with the recoil, but can pull off one-shot kills on just about anything you care to name; the E40 Motherstorm, a very overpowered electrolaser that is unsafe at any setting, but very useful against mechanicals if the environment will let you use it; every single hunting weapon ever on Paltraeth, the kaeth homeworld, where the apex predators are oversized velociraptors with natural scale-mail plating; and the EI-12d Valkyrie target designator, which on its own is a tiny weak modulated laser, but which if there’s an orbital defense grid or an assault cruiser owning the local orbitals, can unleash more hell than everything else in this entry added together.

In the Fire Breathing Weapons category, the plasma-belching sets-fire-to-everything-around power-armor-mounted weapon of doom that is the KF-11 Dragonspume.  Even if its primary use is taking down cyberswarms and nanoswarms through thermal overload.

In the vehicle-mounted weapons category, that minigun-class weapon which is fitted to a G7-BU Sunhawk (see: Cool Plane) and which necessitates – as does the main weapon of the aircraft to which it is a homage – some special care in using to avoid find yourself flying backwards.

And any number of the one-off custom designs from Eye-in-the-Flame Arms, whose weapons designers (drawn, substantially, from the Cyprium-ith-Gislith line) consider the existence of any practical purpose for the weapon distinctly secondary to generating more and more extreme levels of overkill.