General Use

The Cross Beam is a high-energy arcanotech weapon. Superficially resembling a particle cannon, the cross beam or cross laser fires a stream of exotic particles that create a thermal transfer and anti-thermobaric reaction at the point of contact. The deals damage relative to the size of the weapon, but the main cross beam deals a large amount of damage, on par with rail guns and particle cannons, and a good deal of this damage is spread like artillery damage. Unarmored infantry and unarmored vehicles and their crews take double damage from this effect.

The cross beam gained its name from the highly visible anti-thermobaric explosion the beam causes when it hits something solid enough to disrupt its magnetic sheath. The blast itself is an eye-searing blue-white and has a pronounced star/cross shape. Each individual cross beam has its own distinct pattern, and experienced crews can adjust the weapon based on this, or even identify which machines are firing in a battle by observing battlefield intel.

Further effects - in the immediate area of a cross beam detonation, the ambient temperature is dropped ten degrees for every point of damage inflicted. For the smallest cross beams, this is an almost pleasant air conditioning effect, while the prototype naval cross beam on the AFS Northwind leaves behind a frozen crater where the ice lingers for an hour or longer before melting. A unit hit with a cross beam has its heat sapped, so an overheating unit might benefit from a glancing hit. A unit that takes an engine, crew, or head hit has to deal with the engine freezing up, or said crewmen in a vehicle are just flash frozen and dead, and a mech jock has a chance to survive this, assuming they are properly suited up and don't take the crit themselves.

Functionality

The cross beam is the thermal opposite of a THASER.

Origin

The first cross beams were discovered as an accidental byproduct of developing anti-thermal units, heat sinks, for military application. While the heat sink was perfected, having no relation to the passive heat dispersal system of the same name, the beam was strange and hard to manage. Eventually, some third and fourth-tier research projects found a way to harness the cryogenic field the sinks developed and turned them into the first prototype Ice Ray. These primitive devices were large, required large amounts of power, and were hard for crews to operate, as they sucked the heat out of the air, and more than a few technicians were turned to ice and perished. Eventually, shielding was figured out, and computers to manage the manipulation of a magnetic jar around the beam. These were colloquially known as Zambotron beams and were being used for two completely different, but similar purposes.

The miniaturization of the cross beam technology came from Canadian efforts to support hockey. The Zambotron was added to ice surfacing machines so that there were proper ice rinks for hockey matches, and this was quickly added to Federation efforts in ice skating and similar post-Olympic events. The larger versions were used to restore glaciers and sea ice. This was where the cross beam was really discovered. Below a certain threshold, the cryogenic beam doesn't devour enough heat from the world around it to cross its thermal limit. Zambotrons just dont have the heat capacity to fire it up, but when used at a higher power setting, cryo-nucleation and thermal delamination occur, causing a sudden heat spike, explosion, and then thermal shock.

Usage

The Cross beam is a new piece of tech, and remains in very limited availability. It is currently being fielded in mecha trials, aerospace tests, and the naval grade versions are still in limited lab testing. The main area of interest is in replacing particle cannons with cross beams, as particle cannons are hot, energy hungry, and generate waste radiation, requiring shielding for the weapon to protect the pilots and tech support staff.

Proposed Variants

The Cryo-Cannon replaces the beam effect by producing a magnetic 'packet' that delivers a bomb like effect. This does purely area damage, saps heat, and is pretty effective at killing infantry, animals, and freezing freestanding water. Critical misfires of the weapon cause the packet to unravel in the barrel, flash freezing the firing unit. In a mech, this tends to be fatal to the pilot, though the machine itself is generally easy to salvage.

The Cryo-Jet is an anti-flamer, producing a cone of boiling gaseous condensates. This is good for killing things, it is also very good at putting out fires, and spectacular at cooling overheated machinery. The system can be scaled down to infantry sized, as a squad support heavy weapon system. While units being sent cryo-jets have enthusiastically approved of them, military brass is less than pleased, since about 95% of the CJs being used are being used for enhanced air conditioning and cooling beer for the troops.

$35,000 credits a unit, and the troops are using their ice guns to make igloos and frozen daiquiris in the fucking desert? I'm over this bullshit, next shipment that heads out I want those snowcone makers back and replace them with fucking flamethrowers.


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