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Projectile weapons

Written: 2000.06.13

The Federation is in possession of a weapon that is highly specialized for assassination missions: a transporting projectile weapon, first seen in DS9. Unlike the short-range phaser weapons, this weapon seems to have a very long range because it is equipped with a highly advanced sensor suite that can literally see through walls to a distance of hundreds of metres (although it is unclear whether the weapon actually had this inherent ability, or merely tied into the DS9 station sensor network) ... this weapon is perhaps the ideal assassination weapon, except for the unfortunate fact that the projectile will carry a ballistic signature due to its passage through the gun barrel. This could potentially be used to trace the weapon back to its user, although the user could circumvent this problem by simply destroying the weapon after using it, or finding and removing the projectile from its eventual destination (but that would require a trip to the site of the body, with all of the accompanying risks of identification) ... we find that these weapons are perhaps the ultimate evolution of the projectile weapon, and acquisition of this technology is being made a top priority. In the meantime, the usual sensor jamming protocols are to be observed during all ground combat engagements.

(BigBryan here) MW makes the claim that these bullet signatures could be easily traced. Well in DS9 it took the entire security team to try and fail to track a bullet. They were using advanced searching and evidence gathering methods. If they could not find the culprit after finding a bullet then how could the Empire?

Can this guy really be this dense? It's that old bugaboo again: ignorance of real life. When I say "ballistic signature due to its passage through the gun barrel", I'm talking about the same thing police officers are talking about when they say "ballistics". It's not about "tracking" the bullet; it's about the real-life method of matching bullets to guns for murder trials: examining the bullet for surface marks. The problem isn't that you shoot somebody and they figure out who you are from the direction of the hit; the problem is that if they suspect you, search you, and find the gun, they can prove that the bullet was fired from your weapon.

The gun can be fired in any location and appear 1 inch or 10 feet away from the target. We do not know it uses the station sensors. This is most likely a tactic to make the weapon appear more primitive then it is. It is most likely the most sophicated projectile weapon to be made, or will be made.

Is this nit-picking or what? He's actually criticizing me for not praising the weapon highly enough? What more superlatives would he like? Should I have attached an audio file of myself saying "awesome, dude!" or video of myself bowing down and worshipping a screenshot from that episode? Would that be enough praise for him? I think that when I say that it's "the ultimate evolution of the projectile weapon" and someone interprets that as criticism, I've run into a person who will invent things to complain about. Yes, this is definitely an example of a demand to make generous statements even more generous.

As for the bit about using the station sensors, I only mention it as a possibility. He is the one who interprets it as a conclusion.

(E1701 here) Actually, since the bullet is in motion when dematerialized, it can be rematerialized heading in whatever direction the shooter wants, thus making ballistic checking impossible. And it is reasonably safe to assume that neither Ezri's nor the assasin's (especially his) rifles used the station's sensors, since such a piggybacking of the station's resources would be too dangerous, and almost certainly caught.

He creates a false dilemma here when he claims that the killer couldn't have used the station's sensors for fear of detection. Any active sensor scans of individual quarters would definitely be detectable, perhaps even by automatic routines (unless the Federation doesn't object to invasions of privacy, which is entirely possible). Remember that active sensors transmit energy and monitor reflections, so there is no such thing as a "stealth" active sensor. Furthermore, the station security personnel could easily triangulate to find the source of the scans. If the killer was good at hacking computer systems, it might have actually been safer to tap into the station's sensors.

 The range used in the episode was around a kilometer... but since it is a microstransporter, it could easily have a range in excess of 10 kilometers

He really doesn't understand the concept of a lower limit, does he? If we've seen it used at range of around a kilometre, we can confidently say that it has a range of at least one kilometre. We can't use technobabble to claim larger ranges without evidence, and this is definitely an unsupported claim, albeit tempered by the use of the word "could." Do all "microtransporters" have the same range? Does the range of the transporter limit the weapon's effective range, or the range of the sensor system? He obviously doesn't think to ask these questions.

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