As mankind began to spread to the spaces in between the worlds, he took his environment with him, as well as all his hatreds, fears, and desires. The hatreds and fears that leads mankind to kill one another. Yet, in the orbital tin cans that kept him alive, he found he had to be cautious not to pop them like a soap bubble from the inside. While for some months, men bent on violence in space made due with knives and welders, not entirely unlike the ways of old days, the search for weapons appropriate to the environment continued.
It was an electrical technician, Kim Yun-seong, that finally made the first breakthrough. Most of the way asleep after a long session of brainstorming on how to tune laser weapons, he accidentally left a spoon in the cup of coffee that he was rewarming in the microwave. As he watched the electric arc from the metal of the spoon, it shocked a solution into his mind. Actually running to the drawing board, he called his bosses, and a few short months later, the first iteration of the MWP was born. A man-portable microwave projection unit, it quickly proved up to the task of killing men without emptying the air into the void. Several iterations and improvements later, the MWP-6 was released to market, under the name Red Lotus.
The MWP-6 is roughly the size and shape of a large revolver, with a small parabolic dish, projected forwards at the end of the snub nose, while a large magazine of ultracapacitors can be detached from the handle. With two firing modes, the MWP-6 has been promoted to both the police less-than-lethal market, and to the more rough and tumble hunter and personal arms market.
Red Lotus - Soft enough for the stop, strong enough for the kill.
- Marketing Brochure.
The first, and less than lethal mode, is a broad angle projection of microwaves that raises the body temperature of an average sized human being by approximately 4-5 degrees Celsius, inflicting immediate hyperthermia. This mode quickly leads to confusion and often, hallucination or unconsciousness. It is not entirely non lethal, though death is relatively uncommon, as the body temperature immediately begins to fall, as the normal cooling mechanisms begin to respond. This mode has been nicknamed 'The Red Shirt's Delight' after its similarity to weapons from a certain ancient video program.
Some people get drunk when they wanna see things. Other pop a Neurodyne shot. then there's the crazies what live down in the station dregs. They go cause trouble with the cops so's they get shot by a RSD. Most of 'em don't last more'n a couple years 'fore they cook what grey matter they'd had before they got hooked on it.
-Iridal Langston, CMO aboard the Space Station Vaxton-III
It is the second mode, however, that the Red Lotus shares with all its predecessors, and the original purpose of the series. A much greater energy is projected, in a tightly focused beam - This beam is enough to nigh-instantaneously boil the water in any human flesh it contacts. While it will cause electrical discharge when it contacts the metal of most ship hulls, this weapon is not very often able to cut through them to expose the inside to space. Further, because of this discharge Oraki and some Thoron are exceptionally injured by this weapon, as their body is antenna-like enough to generate the arc, which causes further damage to the delicate balances that compose their bodies. This is not universal among the Thoron however, as the effect is particular to certain internal patterns from a handful of lineages. Against others, this has no effect whatsoever, save to provide a decent meal.
...I ain't never seen a person's meat explode like that before, and I never want to see it again.
-Stanley DuPoint, First Officer of the Harrower
While the Red Lotus beam will bypass many forms of protection, it is relatively easy to defend against the MWP system in general, with a light mesh of fine wire, run to ground, however, 'leakover' heat damage, and minor pain from arcing to ground often occur. Further, many forms of armor do not ground well, and energy may be retained in the wire mesh, eventually building as heat. Damage to area electronics is also not entirely unheard of, especially with the wider angle beam.