Tricobalt device

From The Ninth Fleet

The subject of this article covers material in the post-Nemesis era.

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The tricobalt device is a ship-launched high-explosive demolition device, designed primarily for unshielded targets. Currently, the tricobalt device is the heaviest sharship-fired explosive in the Starfleet inventory, utilizing three different types of cobalt coating to achieve detonation. It is one of the oldest weapons in the Starfleet inventory, only going through revisions for power, control and safety.

Because most of its energy is drawn directly from subspace, the warhead yield of a tricobalt device is measured in cochranes and not the standard isoton measurement system adopted for other torpedo weapons in the Starfleet inventory. While technically not a subspace weapon, it is limited by the Second Khitomer Accords to demolition of large, stationary targets, its primary use in any empire's inventory as-is.

Starfleet's model is a longer, heavier version of the standard torpedo casing, glowing bright blue when fired due to the cobalt plasma interaction with its containment field.

Technology

While being a devastating technology in and of itself, the tricobalt device is not classified as a weapon in Starfleet inventories. Rather, it is classed as a demolition technology, most commonly used for destroying planetoid bodies

Tricobalt devices work by extracting energy directly from subspace in a controlled reaction, collapsing in on itself after 1.92 microseconds. The superheated cobalt walls contained within the device absorbs this energy, then reacts with a concentrated sludge of cobalt plasma, which then is heated even further, concentrating the mixture around a single part of compressed cobalt crystal. The crystal allows energy release, which then chain reacts through the entire structure, allowing an extremely destructive subspace shockwave to occur.

History

The tricobalt device dates back to the early twenty-second century, when scientist first were able to define it mathematically. The science was not pushed until mid-2150s, when the threat of the Earth-Romulan War was raised and Earth was looking at last-line defensive measures. Tactical data collected during the course of the last few decades had allowed the technology to control a tricobalt eruption was developed; however, the war ended before the first prototype had been fielded.

The first device was completed in 2164, which was test-detonated on an asteroid threatening a small colony in the Venias system. With the first success of the weapon, Starfleet ordered production of the device for demolitions purposes. The first tricobalt devices were quite weak compared to photon torpedoes; refining techniques of the cobalt was not effective enough for the first 80 years of deployment, and the lack of shield effectiveness except in large area bombardments made them impractical for individual starships to carry in their normal inventories. Added to that, the radiation involved from the cobalt warheads meant special shielding was needed; an accident in 2175 in which the casing of a single warhead cracked caused the abandonment of one of the Daedalus ships of the line for two years as the ship was too heavily irradiated to continue operations.

New information from the Vulcan Science Academy was introduced in 2244 that made these weapons powerful enough to be classed as the first type of zero-point energy weapons - energy was directly extracted from subspace in the reaction and would consequentially ignite hotter and more energetic than any other weapon. Consistent improvements over the course of a century would gradually make the tricobalt device an option for ships again.

Tricobalt devices had had their setbacks, but none were stronger than the disappearance of the USS Voyager in 2371. The ship was trying out the experimental newest release of the tricobalt device - the Mark 45 - which would see the tricobalt device finally make its debut as a standard part of the starship inventory. When the ship disappeared in the Badlands, it was feared that the ship was destroyed by the tricobalt devices. Investigations into the tricobalt device's role led to find a defect in the detonator core sourcing of the warhead; delta radiation would cause the inert warhead to explode at high enough frequencies. This report was one of the leading theories involving the disappearance of the ship for years until its first contact with Starfleet in 2375. All Mark 45s were scrapped due to this and the only saving grace for the tricobalt device was the Mark 46 - again relegated to its own familiar role as a large-scale demolitions package.

In 2384, the Mark 50 tricobalt device was released and began filtering into the mainstream usage; it is the first release which is approved for Starfleet vessels to carry as a regular weapon.

Variants

Like the standard torpedoes starships carry, there are a couple of different versions utilized in the Federation currently.

A trait shared among all variants of the weapon is that the tricobalt device takes up more room per unit than a standard photon torpedo or quantum torpedo. They also cannot be manufactured by any facility other than dedicated facilities in certain sectors of space which have written authorization from the Commander in Chief of Starfleet.

Mark 49

Being phased out, the Mark 49 is still present in a few Starfleet stores, especially in the volatile regions of space - the Ares Sector and the M90 Galaxy, for example, still utilize these devices - where weapons are utilized when no other options exist. They are only meant for stationary target destruction and have no maneuvering capabilities whatsoever.

  • Type: Tricobalt zero-point energy point-and-shoot demolition device
  • Length: 400 cm
  • Width: 100 cm
  • Height: 50 cm
  • Maximum Yield: 10,000 teracochranes

Mark 50S

The Mark 50S is part of the new release of weapons and is meant as a starfighter launcher alternative. Like the Mark 49, it has no maneuverability, but incredible destructive power against hull plating. Shielding systems also do take quite a beating from these powerful weapons, but more from the raw energy discharge and not in the form of shield disruption, making the photon or the quantum torpedo a better choice against shielded targets.

  • Type: Tricobalt zero-point energy point-and-shoot demolition device
  • Length: 110 cm
  • Width: 40 cm
  • Height: 20 cm
  • Maximum Yield: 2000 teracochranes

Mark 50

The Mark 50 is the primary version of the tricobalt device deployed. While not in the majority as of yet, it is the fastest device ever fielded. Recent improvements in warhead efficiency mean the device now has the ability to maneuver after being deployed. While still being slower than the counterpart torpedo weapons, it is still an impressive variable-yield explosive device. It is slightly weaker than the Mark 49, but its usability as an anti-starship weapon, especially in smaller ships facing against larger, less maneuverable classes, more than makes up for it.

  • Type: Tricobalt zero-point energy demolition device
  • Length: 400 cm
  • Width: 100 cm
  • Height: 50 cm
  • Maximum Yield: 8,000 teracochranes