Name: Wave Beam
Height (item): 0.5 m
Mass (item): 10 kg
Height (amplitude of beam): 0.5m
Mass (beam): -
Special Function (Tallon IV model): Secondary electrical discharge into target
Special Function (Zebesian/SR388 models): Beam passes through solid ground
The wave beam is characterized by the visible portion of the beam having a course that follows a sinusoidal wave pattern. However, the two versions of this beam exhibit this pattern for very different reasons.
The Tallon IV wave beam model is actually an advanced charged particle beam cannon. It operates by firing a concentrated stream of charged particles at high speeds. Unlike normal charged particle beam cannons it fires the beam at subsonic velocities, as opposed to the near light speed of normal particle beams. It compensates for this by firing a much larger “current”, or number, of particles. Also, unlike normal particle beams it is actually a combination of 4 particle beams, 3 positively charged beams that fire helium nuclei (alpha particles) and 1 negatively charged beam that fires electrons. Due to the low velocity of the particles, almost all the damage is done by the 3 positively charged beams. Also, as a result of the low velocity only the three outer beams ionize the air enough to be visible, the central beam is completely invisible.
The 3 positive beams are fired out of the arm cannon barrel at an angle, pointing away from the axis of the barrel. The negatively charged beam is fired straight ahead down the arm cannon axis. Normally the positive beams would fly out in all directions, but they are electromagnetically attracted to the negative beam. This causes them to change course and head for the negative beam. Once they reach the central beam, however, most of the particles pass right through, continuing out the other side. The central beam attracts them again, they change course, and pass through the central beam once more. This leads to the wave-like pattern seen. Like all particle beam cannons, the wave beam contains a large amount of electrical energy. When the beam hits the target, this energy is dumped into the target in the form of a massive power surge. This power surge can wreak havoc with the weakly shielded electronics and coherent energy fields, making the beam especially effective against automated weapon systems, robots, and energy-based life forms. It can also jump-start failed electronics.
The charge beam attack for this version of the wave beam is a more conventional charged particle beam cannon called the wavebuster. The gun redirects the three positively charged beams forward, then uses the energy from the missiles to accelerate a much larger amount of alpha particles to near light speed. The beam is attracted to things with unusual electrical properties, usually life-forms (due to electricity in their nerves and muscles) and machines (due to the electricity powering them). This means the beam will automatically track and fire at almost any animate object in range.
The Zebesian and SR388 models of the wave beam are completely different from the Tallon IV model. The models found on those planets works by modifying the quantum behavior of the beam the arm cannon fires. It stretches the wavelength of the matter that makes up the beam to almost a meter. By doing this, it allows the matter to pass through solid rock without interference. Unfortunately, the model found on SR388 could not actually pass through the local rock. The igneous and igneous-based sedimentary rock that makes up must of the habitable portions of Zebes, as well as the structures in those regions, has specific properties that allow the wave beam to pass through them. This is mostly due to relatively low density and its specific mineral content. These properties also apply to water and magma that lays down such rock. However, the rock on SR388 is fundamentally different and the wave beam cannot pass through it. Additionally, the life-forms and machines on Zebes and SR388 have a completely different chemical structure than the Zebesian rock and tend to have very dense armor. When the wave beam comes in contact with these entities the beam is absorbed by the tissues or metallic structure.
The beam does not do that much conventional damage, in fact the damage is a little less than standard beams for reasons to be discussed shortly. However, its unusual quantum properties cause small amounts of the tissues of creatures to break down explosively, causing more damage than a beam not equipped with the wave functionally would cause. This, of course, does not apply to creatures that can block the power beam due to specialized armor. The wave beam can do damage to some creatures resistant to regular power beams, though. This higher damage is a common feature of all 3 of these wave beam models.
The second Zebesian model did, specifically, about 2.5 times the damage of the standard power beam. The wave beam’s appearance is due to its large quantum wavelength, a given point on the beam only emits light at a specific time during its wave. The different parts of the wave are out of phase on a quantum level and thus become visible in sequence, leading to the illusion that the beam has a wave-like pattern. Only the visible portion has the properties necessary to do damage, so only part of the energy used to create the beam goes into hurting the enemy. This is the reason for the slightly lower conventional damage. The charged-up wave beam has more powerful plasma, making the beam more powerful. In addition, the beam has twice the frequency, making the appearance of two beams not one (combining the second model with the plasma beam has a similar effect, and the original model always has this pattern).
The charge attack of the advanced Zebesian wave beam creates 4 plasma rods sticking out from the user at 45, 135, 225, and 315 degree angles from vertical. The rods have the quantum pattern of the wave beam, causing them to appear to move closer and farther from the user. The closer end of the rods always touch the user, but the farther parts lag behind if he or she moves, leading to somewhat random patterns of the visible portion of the beam. Like all the later Zebesian weapons, this one is designed in a modular manner so its effects can be combined with those of other beams. However, the SR388 model lacks this modularity.
The wave beam is of Chozo origin.