What is the Tyberian ‘ultimate’ weapon?
I will allow Richard to explain:
Richard pauses. “But there are a few that were developed in the past that were forbidden for use ever again.” He looks up, remembering the things his father had told him not long ago. “Like the fusion pulse cannon.”
“I’ve heard of that,” Samantha mutters to herself. “Wasn’t that a weapon that could damage several ships by triggering a fusion reaction in key elements?”
“Yeah! How did you know?” Richard says in amazement.
“I know a little about your history. Your ancestors used it on the Maxians and started the three-hundred-year war,” Samantha relates.
Richard looks down at her, his face expressing frustration by the remark, but then he sighs. “Yeah, I guess so,” he finally slides out. “But after that war, the weapons design was given to the kings on each side. Then any other record of it was destroyed.” Richard suddenly smiles, a new spark of excitement enters his eyes. “That weapon could be the key to defeating them!” He looks over to Samantha, trying to impart his sudden surge of optimism, “If we build it and use the power source Joe created, we may be able to reorient this!” He continues down the hall, grinning.
Richard & Samantha
There are a few things I want to point out with Richard’s comments.
First: He is young
I think it shouldn’t be lost on anyone that Richard is not very old. In fact, I’ve already pointed this out here. And I wrote this novel when I was younger than Richard, so my assumptions were this was a mature perspective on the matter. I can’t say I (now) agree with me (then) about whether Richard was ‘mature,’ but it does influence his views on a few issues.
That said, Richard is likely expressing his view of this weapons’ awesomeness from an emotional standpoint. It would feel awesome to need to use this, to eliminate the threat with a tool that is absolutely certain to do it (until it doesn’t, but that’s another matter…). The weapon is still no less powerful. I didn’t go into detail regarding the weapon itself because of its history (it’s not in this book, but it will be addressed), but it will affect Richard’s perspective as the story continues.
Second: He isn’t a ‘warrior’
War seems easy when you aren’t the one taking a swing at your enemy (though, even Richard is helped with this). This weapon is much like the catapult of ancient times: you don’t have to see it hit your enemy to know it will hurt when it does. Richard will know using this will inflict pain, and it can possibly end the conflict quickly if circumstances permit, and he doesn’t have to understand its inner workings for this to be accomplished. Don’t dwell too much on why he doesn’t seem to know the technical side of matters; understand that his goal is to stop the conflict, and he feels this will.
Now having said that, yes he’s not wrong this is a powerful weapon in the novel. In fact, this is only its first use, and you will see that its’ simple design as the series continues underlies a more significant issue regarding its design. And while it may seem awesome here, it actually is not used to its potential:
“I tied the fusion pulse cannon to our onboard fold systems.” He turns toward Richard. “I discovered your reactor power conduits can handle 75 percent output from the power plant, so I tied the cannon directly with them.”
Richard frowns. “What kind of efficiency had we gotten with this weapon?”
Joe turns back to his console. “Around 15 percent.”
Richard looks ahead for a moment, dwelling on these words. “A fivefold increase?” He turns back to Joe, who is still grinning.
“Isn’t it cool? I was afraid the weapon couldn’t handle the power input, but it’s so well designed, it actually is more efficient with larger amounts of power!”
Joe & Richard
As the series progresses, the things that Richard knows and understands about the weaponry and defensive tech they use will come to light, through the history that he will relate.
There is one final thing I want to point to regarding this weapon: One thing that struck me was how ‘simple’ Richard will state the weapon is, mentioning that at one point in the book anyone could build one. It might seem crazy that this is possible until you look at the catapult example again. This is also a powerful weapon, and with various ways to modify and enhance, this is still used in a variety of tools (and even weapons) today. The principles employed are simple but easy to multiply for additional impact. That is how this weapon is. Once the weapon is built correctly, it can be used by anyone. Once the principles employed are understood, it can be multiplied exponentially. At a later date, I hope to discuss that.
Unfortunately, it won’t be next week. I have to talk about me. I know, you’d prefer a visit with an 18th-century dentist (I believe they were called barbers then), but I promised myself I’d work to stay regular.
Next week, prune juice.
I mean, me. Actually, that’s the same thing…
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