Weapons of Star Trek

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The Star Trek fictional universe contains a very large number of weapons. As most science fiction franchises, they have chosen to focus primarily on energy weapons to accentuate the futuristic technology. Naturally, story considerations also produce other styles, ranging from missiles (the classic photon torpedo) to even melee (focused on the Klingons).

Energy weapons

Disruptors

Disruptors are employed by several alien species in this series, including Romulans, Klingons, Breen, Cardassians, Iridians and Orions in their personal and military small arms as well as being mounted as cannon, emitters, turrets, and banks. Only the first three are known to have type-3 disruptors, the most advanced developed so far, by the 24th century. Disruptors cause damage by exciting the molecular bonds of targets. According to Last Unicorn's Star Trek: The Next Generation Roleplaying Game, disruptors are considered less 'elegant' than phaser-based weapons; their effects there are described as thermal shock and blunt force, as opposed to the 'rapid nadion effect' from a phaser.

Varon-T disruptors

Varon-T disruptors were featured in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Most Toys", and were mentioned to be a rare type of disruptor made illegal in the Federation because of their slow, excruciating method of killing. The weapons tear the body apart from the inside. Kivas Fajo, a Zibalian trader in that episode, owned four of the five Varon-T disruptors ever manufactured (he slept with one under his pillow) before his collection of rare items was confiscated subsequent to his capture and arrest for kidnapping and theft (among other crimes).[1]

Lasers

Lasers are a sidearm in the original Star Trek pilot "The Cage", and laser pistols appear in several Original Series episodes, although later episodes in The Next Generation seemed to indicate that the laser's use as a weapon was outdated. In one instance, the ship-mounted lasers of two spacecraft were incapable of overcoming even the navigational shields of the USS Enterprise-D,[2] though on at least two other occasions it was threatened with destruction by laser-armed spacecraft.[3][4] The Borg have been known to use cutting lasers to dissect disabled vessels.[5]

According to The Making of Star Trek, Gene Roddenberry claimed that production staff realized that using laser technology would cause problems in the future as people figured what they could and could not do; this resulted in the move to phasers on-screen, while letting lasers be known as a more primitive weapon style.

Pulse cannons

When the laser had reached its upper limits of power, a new weapon was invented at Jupiter Station for the newly designed NX-class. This new weapon could fire much greater energies at longer range but the draw back was that continuous fire would cause damage to the emitter. To solve this problem, Starfleet scientists devised a way to fire the weapon in short pulsed burst streams to help regulate the temperatures of the emitters in a state of constant fire. The pulse cannon is a rather simple particle beam weapon.

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