Defensive weapons (and in particular stun and tangler weapons) are munitions designed to incapacitate and disorient a person by making him, her, or it unconscious or immobile.

For police and security, the preferable way to disable threats is through the use of a nonlethal weapon. Unlike the soldier, the police officer's primary directive is to uphold the law and protect the citizens, whether the citizen is criminal or not. This is the justification for weapons like the stun gun and tangler spray; they immobilize the target without dealing permanent damage.

Both types of weapons use wholly different techniques for achieving this end result.

Stun technology Edit

The principle behind stun guns and rifles is gamma rays. This radiation consists of fast-moving photons within the gamma range of the electromagnetic spectrum. When fired in phase (in a linear, uniform motion), these photons are collectively known as an EM pulse.

EMPs have been historically propagated by movies and science fiction books to have a profound ability to fry electronics and disable machines. While the concept has basis within the real world, most military installations and equipment are hardened, or designed to be EMP-resistant.

Its effect on the human brain, however, was not fully realized until the late twenty-fourth century. Scientists researching terraforming technology discovered by chance that the nerve impulses sent by the brain can be interrupted and garbled when a moderate to high-powered EMP is passed through the skull. The body's musculature receives false information and forces the person into debilitating spasms.

This effect is similar to a contact stun weapon, such as the stunstick, that passes low-voltage electricity through the target. Both were later proven to be effective for all species.

A remote stun weapon is technically referred to as a HERF (high energy radio frequency) gun. Its mechanism is remarkably simple and is heavily entrenched in electrophysics. A series of capacitors build up energy drawn from an inserted clip. Enough energy is eventually accumulated for the electricity to jump across two electrodes (called a sparkgap) and into a magnetron. The magnetron uses electromagnets to "undulate" the electrons. As the electrons wave, photons within the gamma range are produced and focused toward the target by a mini-parabolic dish.

Some things to consider:

  • There is a small amount of firing heat from the electricity jumping across the sparkgap and the charged capacitors, but the internal fire control system usually has sufficient dissipation potential to make this factor negligable.
  • There is no visual signature from the firing of a HERF gun. Photons in the gamma range are not in the visible portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, and cannot be seen by the human eye (or any other species).
  • There is a distinctive aural discharge noise. The source of this sound is the discharging capacitors and the magnetron, both of which contribute to about 40 dB (moderate).
  • The unfortunate victim of a HERF gunshot will receive a series of painful shocks to their system. He essentially loses control of his appendages, which jerk in random spasms. This pain is not permanent but may cause psychological damage.
  • The firer of a remote stun weapon must aim for the target's head (or wherever the brain is) for the shot to be effective. For a Phyrrian, this amounts to anywhere on the body, as electronics plague all parts.

Tangler technology Edit

Keeping true to its name, weapons based on tangler technology bind the target with a supertight mass, preventing him from moving and performing actions. It is a great deal simpler than the HERF gun, and has less electronics and moving parts.

The binding mass is an organic compound with a terminal hydroxide chain to allow for strong intermolecular forces (hydrogen bonding). Frozen at room temperature, the organic compound--dodecazoic acid--has an uncanny ability to bind and react instantly with the first obstacle. It forms into a hard mass with a strong lattice structure to maintain shape.

Weapons that shoot a tangler mass is coated with a binding chemical that dissolves in contact with the air. Gas pressure builds at the base of the tangler/chemical projectile and eventually propels it toward the target at a relatively low muzzle velocity (250 m/s). Once the chemical dissolves, the tangler spreads out and entraps the target.

Tangler sprays have a similar mechanism to a tangler gun. It uses built-up pressure in the canister to spew forth a stream of dodecazoic acid.

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