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Secret Weapons of the Rebellion

by Eamon Watters

The Shaker Cannon (Margaret's Realm)

The principle of this device originated in the Solomani Confederation, as a weapon for planetary pacification. The cannon consisted of an overpowered tractor beam coupled with a high resolution, short range sensor suite. It operated by targeting a sinusodally driven beam on a small area of a planet, and varying the frequency until resonance was achieved in the target, be it a building or a person. Buildings could be targeted, but unless people were concentrated in a very small area the more devastating effect of the device - nicknamed the 'Splotch' effect was unattainable. An often used mode was to target a whole city, at a frequency that would cause uncontrolled shaking on the sentient targets. Whilst the Solomani called this mode the 'Judder', the Imperials knew it as the 'Shimmy', after an inexperienced Navy Scientist named it when details were first revealed to the public. For a few years the joke that the device was a Solomani marital aid, designed to allow their wives to replicate the movements of the famed Mid-East Terran Dancers. Some cruder comics said the device was more closely focused.

The device lacked the range, at the highest Confederation technology, to be more than an orbital bombardment device. It also had to be operated at high power to have any effect, drawing the bombarding ship towards the planet, and requiring excessive use of the ship's thrusters - while the ship had to be kept in a narrow orbital path. This meant that the ship was a sitting duck to any reasonable planetary defences, and limited it's use to moderate to low tech targets, or previously pacified planets. One more method of using the device was for two ships, on widely separated orbital tracks, to graze the target area - but not the land. The resonance had a similar effect, but the traction imparted by the air molecules was negligible enough to drastically cut down on the need for manouvre - though time on target was lower as the orbital paths quickly diverged.

During the Rebellion a number of factions experimented with this device, but only one was able to develop an operational anti-ship version - Margaret's 'Shaker' Cannon. Perfected at Margaret's Naval Research Lab at Porto (3211 Massilla). It used a Manipulator, so there was zero net moment on both the projecting ship and the target, but unlike 'The Hand of Lucan', which targeted the structure of the ship, the Shaker focused on the computers of the enemy, causing the resonant failure of common computer components - leaving the enemy helpless - but salvageable. Usual tactics were to launch an attack from out of a gas giant - thus being able to attack enemy ships at optimal range. After neutralisation the ships could be manipulated into stable orbits and refitted by the accompanying auxiliaries. The only known countermeasure was to use the ship's internal gravity field to damp out the resonance, but as this involved manouvring the ship to a deck orientation perpendicular to the Shaker's beam it usually left the ship 'on it's back, unable to bring it's spinal armament to bear. The device was to be fitted to 12 Mercury-Class Cruisers under construction at Irlu (2008 Massilla) and Yan (2718 Massilla). The first of these, the INS Tenacious was declared operational in late 1128. By the time the Virus swept over Massilla, there were 7 Ships of the Tenacious Subclass operating, very successfully, on the border between Lucan's and Margaret's Realms. It is not known if any of these vessels survive in the New Era. The details on this weapon have been pieced together from pre-rebellion sources and information from the databanks of a Naval Courier found drifting in the Acrolund System by the Voskl Trade Alliance Scout Service in 1202.

The Esastuu Device (Lucan)

This weapon had been proposed in many scientific journals from the dawn of the Space Age on Terra - an Earthquake Inducer. Over the millennia it appeared from time to time in some scientific publications - but mainly in lurid espionage holos. Work on the Esastuu (The Genoee God of Earthquakes) Device began after the recovery of an Ancient artefact called the Proneela Engine by a group of Imperial Knights in 1106. The exact workings of the Engine were never revealed, but information on the Esastuu Device was stolen by SolSec during the latter stages of the Rebellion. The device was developed under project 'Wide Stare', and consisted of a powerful, but short ranged meson gun coupled with an experimental 'Deep Radar' Densitometer, and a massive supercomputer. The Solomani learned that the device operated by locating chaotic instabilities in the crust of a world - points where the right amount of energy input could cause a disproportionately larger outburst of seismic energy. It was thought this device was responsible for the spectacular creation of the Leviathan Rift on Santar (1530 Core). Another fact the Solomani learned was that the device needed extensive planetary and tectonic data to operate. One scientist estimated a stay of at least a year on a world to gather the data for it's use. Thankfully for Lucan, Capital had extensive data on all aspects of the planets in the Imperium. Fortunately for the Solomani, the data on the worlds of the Confederation was so old to be useless for the Device's needs.

The Solomani pieced together some data on raids conducted against Margaret, and their newer possessions in Diaspora. There was an attack conducted against Khipshunam (1108 Massilla) in early 1127, which resulted in the volcanic destruction of an extensive island chain before the attack was repelled. Dubleen (1515 Massilla) was thought to have come under attack, but only minor earth tremors were reported. Finally, an attack on Ebasha late in 1128 caused extensive damage to the Capital by igniting the nearby Bearteeth range of mountains. As far as SolSec could determine, all these attacks involved at least one Triumph-Class battle rider, with at least one of it's Gallant-Class riders taking no apparent part in the offensive strike. This lead to the famous Vaward exchange of captured SolSec and Margaret's operatives. This was ostensibly as a sign of good faith - but also as a deeper move towards a peace treaty, as Margaret's Spies were giving complete data on the tactical use of the Device, and it's operating principles.

This data was revealed in the Journals of former SolSec Co-ordinator Yaela Nusmit, who is currently the external security minister for the Dingir League.

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