CQC in the Cosmic Era

The weapons and methodology of close quarters combat in an era of spaceships, giant robots, and parapsychic powers.


1. Rumlowes

A brutal weapon, cheap, effective, and deadly. Rumlowes are also known as knuckles, cestus, or power gauntlets. The design is simple, a reinforced crossbar, or 'bullet' that locks down over the fist of the user. This allows for fearless punching, without the worry of breaking fingers or shattering the hand. The concept was no different from traditional brass knuckles or fist loads, at least until Bart Rumlowe donned a juice suit under some basic body armor. Rumlowe killed opponents inside power armor, hitting them hard enough to shatter bones through the armor, cracking necks, smashing faces against the inside of helmets, and made a name for himself. His demonstration wasn't unnoticed, and the technology entered into the mainstream. Power armor troopers can easily add Rumlowes to their suits, giving them a powerful hand to hand weapon that doesn't require ammo.

The Rumlowe is a deployable punching aid. When the bar/bullet comes down over the fist, punches deal more damage, and the user is unlikely to inflict injury on themselves. The bullet itself can be stylized per the user, such as skulls, ogre fists, or other visual imagery, or it can be purpose built. Such modifications include exaggerated points for penetration on impact, spikes and barbs for more damage against soft targets, or even explosive bolts so that impact results in a shaped charge out of the bullet. Nasty.

Combat in the Cosmic Era frequently is up close and very personal. The era is marked by giant robots, flying warships, and big guns going at each other at distances of miles, hundreds or even thousands of miles in the case of space battle. The vast majority of people live inside arcologies, space habitats, underwater structures, geofronts, and other confined locations. The advantage of rail guns and lasers are the fact that the weapons can engage at long range. Since the majority of combat is happening on small scale, and less than 20 feet, those advantages don't matter.

2. Hyperedge Blade

The hyperedge blade started as a joke, a sort of pipe dream of sci-fi and anime nerds. The blade utilizes a variable state edge, an arcanotech device causes the blade's cutting edge to dance through a manifold number of phase states. The end result of the technobabble and electric greeblies is that the weapon can slice through almost any known material. The only things that can stop these weapons are other hyperedge blades, aphasic materials, and polarized armor (supa-rare)

The hyperedge blade can be made into a number of shapes, and a variety of sizes. Dagger and knife sized versions are available, up to swords large enough to be swung by mecha. These weapons require an external power source, or are limited to a battery pack concealed in the weapon. Those on batteries are typically hold-out weapons.

The dangers of close quarters combat are numerous. In the confined quarters of the Cosmic Era, collateral damage is a major concern. Over-penetration, excessive damage, and the like, can cause greater problems than the ones they are being used to address. The answer originally was specially designed ammunition. Frangible rounds, needler weapons, stun and shock weaponry all suffer from the same basic problem, stopping power. These weapons lack the ability to stop a dangerous foe. This was never more apparent than during a dimensional fatigue event. Weapons designed to shatter against bulkheads shatter against armor plated monsters. Needlers shred flesh but do nothing against things with no organs. A blade, a blade that can cut through almost anything, is almost always useful.

3. Lightning Claw

Lightning Claws, also known as rippers, Wolverines, Vegas, or X23s, are common on holodramas and entertainment media, but somewhat less common in application. Variations on hyperedges, lightning claws are two to three hand mounted blades that are used in close quarters. The weapons are capable of tearing apart almost anything, and are highly intimidating. This comes with three drawbacks. Claws are energy hungry, as they are technically multiple blade systems. They also have relatively short range and penetration. Where a full fledged blade can dismember and remove limbs, the claws simply shred and do horrendous damage. Finally, a trooper mounting these weapons is going to be promoted to target number one by enemy forces.

The dimensional fatigue events of the Cosmic Era often produce strange creatures, the sort that can often shrug off high power weapons, and survive missing limbs. It is also not uncommon for these exo-organisms to demonstrate regenerative abilities. The large amount of damage done by these weapons can incapacitate even the toughest monsters. This usefulness comes into play in regular military action, as the claws are able to damage things that are heavily armored, or have large numbers of redundant systems. Despite this, they are seldom used, as their range is very limited.

4. Power Lance

Power Lances are fairly common weapons in the Cosmic Era. With the problem of close quarters and a high concern over collateral damage, and fighting powerful and tough opponents, high velocity and high power weapons are a liability. The wastelanders gave the Cosmic Era the Power Lance as an answer, though their limitation was cost and resources. The Power lance is a two handed melee weapon with a high explosive at the head. The wastelander power lance is not much more than a steel rod with a landmine, grenade, or contact shell at the end. The Federation's 'Galahad' lance is a variable yield armor cutting warhead.

Power Lances are fairly uncommon in the holofeeds, and a regular issue item for non-armored soldiers. A soldier armed with a power lance can cripple or destroy a power armor trooper without giving away an EM signature. The weapon is not glorious, and it's often suicidal in use. The weapon gives a small amount of reach, and strong characters can throw it, power armor troopers can also use them with less danger to themselves, but setting lances is allowing enemy forces to reach hand to hand range. An inglorious weapon of asymmetrical warfare.

5. Ripper

The ripper is a secondary weapon, typically fitted to another, such as a mag-rifle, assault rifle, or other automatic weapon. These weapons are functionally combat chainsaws. The weapons fit high grade allow chain blades with magnetic accelerators. While frequently useless against advanced and hardened armors, the weapon makes short work of soft tissue, basic armors, and organic armors. The weapon is brutal and violent above most others, and is not often seen in the media sphere because of the sheer amount of gore and suicidal outcomes from using them.

The Ripper is a violent weapon, one that masticates the flesh of opponents, and rips light armored targets to pieces. They are similar in profile to Lightning claws, but they are dramatically cheaper to produce and require less sophisticated maintenance. They are also easier to conceal, and more primitive rippers can be powered by batteries or combustion engines, but with reduced power.

The Ripper is seem as a weapon of mercenaries, desperation, and outlaws.

6. Archery

Common sense and the rule of cool clash over the role of the bow in the hypertech setting of the Cosmic Era. Article Link: Archery in the Cosmic Era

7. The Shield

The riot shield of the 20th and 21st century was a clear plastic deterrent used to protect police officers while working to contain crowds and riot situations. The shield was plastic, and worked well enough. A shield is a shield, and as long as no one in the crowd had a heavy calibre weapon everything was pretty much fine. But the advent of the Cosmic era changed the game. Energy weapons became feasible, and a plastic ballistic shield did absolutely nothing to stop a coherent laser beam and if hit with a plasma round had a nasty habit of quickly turning into a splatter of molten hot or burning plastic goo.

The new Riot Shield was created, a composite structure that mixed ballistic protection with energy dissipating materials. The transparency was lost, and the shield roughly doubled in weight.

Article Link: Corporate Riot Shield


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? Responses (5)

Goto Author

I want a hyperedge blade!

Goto Author

A good rundown on these.

Rippers seem a lot less useful to me after seeing these exist -


Technobabblish nanofiber to make it even more effective. But then we replace the teeth on the saw with Hyperblades .. :)

Goto Author

The Ripper is cheap, hyperedge blades are expensive, so its a trade off. For more power and vicious close quarters mayhem, I would recommend lightning claws instead.

Goto Author

Hyperedge samurai swords!

I can see demo-experts being a thing. Running at a giant robot only to place a set of charges on its feet, or whatnot.

Also mini-EMP grenades which locally disrupt technology.