The torpedo traced a lightning quick course, 114 kilometers from test firing rig to the target, a 14 ton piece of space debris. The warhead contained ten micrograms of it's classified fuel, enough to completely annihilate the target ten times over. Four seconds from launch to target, the proximity switches activated, 500 meters from the target. Implosion detected inside the Austerhagen device. Gravitational sheering detected, Hawking radiation detected. Explosion radius expanding at just over the expected rate of growth. Gravitation flux detected along the outer shell of the blast.
The Mighty Higgs ParticleThe discovery of the Higgs Bosun in the 21st century was a seed that would take centuries to bear fruit. For generations sci-fi writers had bandied about gravitons and gravitics as a handwave technology to explain how futuristic spaceships could ignore inertia and gravity in space. At the same time, scientists would vigorously refute such things as nonsense. This would continue with greater vigor after the discovery of the Higgs bosun, up through the end of the Petroleum Era. When the shooting started, interest in sci-fi literature and exotic theoretical particles predictably dwindled.
During the Second Renaissance, interest in exotic things rebounded, and the Higgs was one of the first grabbed after. There were failures, like the Singularity plant, but even things like this pushed the programs forward. Scientists and arcanotechnicians learned more about manipulating the Higgs bosun and Higgs fields. This created a number of fantastic technologies.
Gravitronics: the long time plaything of science fiction, gravitronics are the civilian and industrial applications of gravity manipulation. The most common uses are fixing gravity in spaceships and space stations, replacing the need for centripedal force gravity generation and the associated rotating rings and hammer arms on ships and stations. It also includes the creation of the A-Pod. The Anti-gravity Pod was a major revolution in propulsion technology, in many places replacing spinning rotors, wheels, and combustion/incandescent drive systems.
Higgs Particle Cannon: one of the highest energy weapons developed, HPCs look and function like high power lasers, but are much more devastating, having both high energy and significant knock down power. The output of HPCs are measured in kilo, mega, and gigatons. The smallest Higgs cannons are mounted on large mecha and have destructive potential in the 1 to 5 kiloton range. These 'big guns' are typically used for bunker busting, anti-mecha, and anti-warship operations. Space mecha and aerospace craft favor NPCs over lasers, due to their considerable damage potential. Megaton HPCs are mounted on capital warships, such as the Federation's self named Federation class Battlestars and battlecruisers, or the Seibertronian's Arche class heavy cruisers. These weapons have destructive potential in the 2 to 10 megaton range. The second incarnation of the Obliteratrix replaced the theoretical molecular disrupter weapon with a 1 gigaton HPC. It is estimated that the blast radius of the 'Zeus Cannon' would be almost 60 kilometers across, with lessening blast damage reaching out another 50 kilometers (140-160 km air blast diameter) Wildfires and thermal burns would be inflicted beyond this range, reaching out to a maximum diameter of almost 400 kilometers from the point of impact. The Tycho Convention last session limited HPC yield to 10 megatons, and that was an inescapable concession to the weapons the Federation already had in place.
Black Hole Bombs: the slang term for a Higgs Bosun Implosion device, or an Austerhagen warhead. Developed by the Austerhagen Initiative, the weapon generates a short duration naked singularity. This is achieved by converging three Higgs beams into a lump of classified 'hypermatter'. There is a subatomic collapse, the Higgs beams destablize the hypermatter, and it's mass turns in on itself in a gravity cascade. There are a few more technological steps, all which happen in fractions of a second. The end result is a weapon that takes a massive bite out of creation, and destroys it. The warhead is becoming increasingly popular due to both it's massive destructive potential, and it's limited collateral damage. There is almost no armor that can resist this class of weapon, and it is a non-explosive. There are no radiation spikes, no blast waves, no fireballs. There is a flash of light, from the formation of a millisecond event horizon and micro-accretion disc, and a burst of X-ray radiation, and then the area of affect is simply gone, evaporated into Hawking radiation.
Corrosion Torpedo - an increasingly common and dangerous weapon, corrosion torpedoes are smart weapons designed for anti-ship warfare. They are fairly large and have a demi-sentient control system, micro-fusion reactor to power the drive system and the austerhagen device, smart tracking and ECM systems. These weapons are expensive, tantamount to firing a fully kitted out variable frame aerospace fighter at a target, but with a much higher damage potential. Operation Jawbreaker was the testing phase for the corrosion torpedo, and a number were used to destroy asteroids or target ships as proof of concept.
The Austerhagen Device, with a capital D is the proverbial and literal self-destruct system and is being investigated as a fail safe for special containment protocols and high risk research centers. It has been grudgingly decided that it would be better for a center to be devoured by it's own pocket black hole than have a repeat of the Leviathan or Deimos incidents. These are larger than the devices found in warheads, as they are expected to remove an entire facility and everything inside of it, be it giant insects, a viral outbreak, or the literal agents of Hell climbing out of the Pit. Everything is devoured by the black hole.
There are records in the Imbrian archives of a device called a Nugri Selis'Po, which roughly translates out to hungry seed or hungry egg, and is described as a hand thrown weapon that devours that which it is thrown it. Researchers believe that this is an Austerhagen 'grenade' and was used by the Imbrians as a last ditch or desperate weapon. It seems that there was some sort of suicide attack method in using the the devices as the few times they are mention. It is possible that this was deliberate. Austerhagen devices that detonate in a void have a relatively short lifespan. One that detonates in something with mass can actually persist for an observable amount of time, the more resistant the material is, the longer the singularity will persist. Weaker objects will crumple and be drawn into the event, while stronger ones will have sheering and stress damage, and frequently an almost cookie cutter perfect hole in them.
Usage: The Austerhagen warhead/device is the weapon system that makes the Cosmic Era step back and wonder if it has crossed a line it shouldn't have. The potential devastation of HPCs dwarf the firepower of atomic and nuclear weapons, and the destructive potential of the austerhagen bomb are enough to sober even the most vitriolic warhawk. In the Lovecraftian/anime theme of the Cosmic Era, when the Outer Gods come sloughing into the domain of man, They will be met with the brilliant lances of Higgs particle cannons and black hole tipped missiles.
Schwartzchild - the most common yield austerhagen warhead. The Schwartzchild is a 'static' detonation and has no angular momentum. This is the smallest, and most controlled version of the weapon and creates an event horizon approximately 50 meters wide. Everything within this diameter is simply gone. Outside of the diameter, there is gravitational sheer, stress fractures, and secondary damage.
Reissner-Nordstrom - similar to the Schwartzchild, the Reisnner-Nordstrom (RN, or the 'Black Nurse') is a static event, but energetic. The horizon of a Black Nurse is 100-120 meters, and there is significant disruption to EM fields after it's collapse. Reissner-Nordstrom warheads are uncommon due to this. They are more likely to be used as noise generators than in actual targeted combat.
Kerr - the Kerr is a large austerhagen warhead, typically deploying in the self destruct feature of secure offworld facilities. The Kerr is simply a much larger version of a Schwartzchild, static and uncharged. The horizon of a Kerr can be as large as 300 meters, more than adequate to consume an entire space station or large space ship, or to turn an asteroid base into a hollow sphere. There are anti-ship Kerr warheads, but these are highly classified weapons.
Kerr-Newman - the KN is the last word in destruction, opening a kilometer wide rotating black hole. The handful of these superweapons are insurance in case of something like the Seibertronians turning against humanity, an AISC going truly rogue, or encountering something that no reflex team can hope to stop. Only one KN warhead has even been detonated and it was a desperate attempt to close the expanding Weir Rift, a massive DFE that appeared after the failure of a prototype FTL engine test. The rift and the black hole canceled each other out, leaving gravity waves rippling out from the event, sending storms raging through Neptune's atmosphere.
The Gates of Guf
The Gates of Guf are a Nipponese Austerhagen warhead of the Kerr-Newman yield, but is different from the Federation model in that the Guf warhead is a slow burn model, and the resulting event can last for several terrifying minutes. The weapon is part of the Nipponese reflex plan, should something like a teratomorph or Arhat level parapsychic overcome existing defense and response forces, the Guf would be delivered to the problem and 'opened'. The resultant event would unfurl, bathing everything in the brilliance of the the accretion zone, a glowing sphere of light brighter than the sun.
Such a weapon could potentially alter the magnetic field of the Earth, alter weather patterns, and otherwise disrupt the ecosphere. The nipponese government has several of these weapons.
Accelerated Higgs Particle Cannon - colloquially known as a Super Higgs, or Super Graviton Cannon. The form of the AHPC is similar to a basic HPC, but it is much larger and has amplifiers. The prototype AHCP is mounted axially down the center line of a classified testbed warship nestled in at the Maw Installation. The AFS Kepler is listed as a science and research vessel, with emphasis on Higgs research and gravitronics as a whole. The 800 meter ship is a transport vehicle for the AHPC.
When powered up, the front end of Kepler decouples and opens like a mechanical flower, and the beam emitter is exposed. There are six 'amplifiers' that extend from the ship and are locked in place with a powerful magnetic field. These six flattened barrel shaped units, 20 meters wide and 5 meters thick, project and manipulate gravimetric forces in front of the ship and in the emitter. This decreases space-time resistance to the particle beam, allowing the super dense stream of energy to move above the speed of light.
The estimated yield of the Kepler AHPC is 100 gigatons. Should the weapon be pointed at the Earth, the damage would be very likely civilization ending. A European centered blast would set everything from Oslo to Sicily, France to Belurus on fire, with a 100 kilometer wide fireball over Vienna. A similar blast over the United States would stretch from New York to Denver, New Orleans to the top of Ontario, with the 100 kilometer wide fireball leaving nothing behind of Chicago.
Currently, there is not enough power available to the Kepler to charge the weapon up to that world breaking output. Work on the AHPC has been sidelined following the highly negative reviews of the leaked Obliteratix joke program.
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? Responses (4)
How common is war in your world?
Large scale war is almost completely unheard of, small brushfire wars are common, but there are also things like the random kaiju that pops up after a science experiment goes wrong. Plus, the leading world power, the Atlantic Federation, is very hawkish and pro-military.
This is pretty neat!
This is pretty cool, but from a hard SF perspective, evaporating a non-trivial region of existence is going to release immensely more energy then a little bit of hawking radiation.
Maybe if the collapsed matter/energy is shunted somewhere else it would help in the whole conservation of energy thing. Maybe these weapons create nasty explosions in another dimension. Might attract the wrong kind of attention...
The second effect of obliterating a fixed radius of reality if in an atmosphere would be a massive shock wave as the vacuum collapses. This would resemble an explosion whose energy would depend on the volume of the destruction.
For fun I threw some numbers at it. A 1 km radius sphere has a volume of 5.24×10^8 m3. A vacuum has VERY roughly 2kJ of energy per m3. So, ~ 1x10^9 kj - which is roughly .2kilotons. A good boom.