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The fusion of SciFi 'laser gun' and real lasers.

See, in science fiction, a 'laser' is a little pellet which flies at visible speed.

In RealLife, a laser is a beam of light.
Pulsed lasers, anyone?
Pulses don't travel at running speed.

So take the SciFi "It's visible" and the RealLife "It's a line from here to there" and you get BeamWeapons.

They combine the virtues of blowing stuff up with the virtue of "Hold down the trigger"

Shown properly, they make space battles fun again.

In Babylon5, the Shadow ships had really evil purple BeamWeapons.  They took a malicious pleasure in slicing their enemies' ships in two.
Mmmm yes.  Continued the theme of the good guys blasts being green, too.
What theme? In Star Trek, the Federation's phasers are red (TOS) or orange (TNG and later) whilst Borg, Klingon and Romulan disrupters are green. TieFighter aficionados will recall the wonderful dichotomy that Star Wars has; Rebel Alliance ships are green dots on the radar that fire red lasers, Imperial ships are red dots that fire green lasers. Colonial ships in Battlestar Galactica fire red blasts, whilst Cylon weapons are green. Seems that in general the bad guys fire green weapons
Apologies - I meant that good guys and bad guys have different coloured weapons.  (And yeah, StarWars it was green)

Slightly shamefully, the shadows start off with these deadly weapons and never improve on them - while their aim goes drastically downhill later in the series when the writer decides to have the heroes confront them directly.  Which is a real shame (especially once they run out of excuses for it)
Well, starting off with superior weapons does tend to produce this effect (in R&D, I mean - case in point, Imperial Japan and the Mitsubishi Zero). Bad aim is an effect of being official BadGuys?.
You misunderstood.  I meant that they start off with ultimate firepower and incredible aim.  Everyone is too scared to confront them.  Later, when the heroes MUST confront them; they no longer have good aim.  This is a poor poor thing.

Well earlier on we see them fighting EarthForce? Bathtubs(TM) and similar craft, which have all the stealth and ECM capability of a large brick. Later on we see them against White Stars and Mimbari ships, which are harder to track. Also later on the good guys are using psychics to weaken and confuse the Shadows, which would explain their poor aim. --Gwyntar
I actually meant after that.  It's a decent PlotDevice whilst they have a half woken one in the jupiter atmosphere and so forth.  But then later on when it's just a big war and everyone is invited, they just don't look fearsome any more.  Good name for that class of earth CapitalShip? though.  --Vitenka (Wasn't it the Narn they started on?)
But the Narn are in a similar position to EarthForce? in terms of ships and weaponry. As opposed to the Minbari's 1000 years' headstart (even given their reactionary culture), nigh sensor-invisibility and general hardness. The Shadows still look fearsome to me. --Requiem

Possible alternative name for a [ClueByFour]

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Last edited July 22, 2004 4:28 pm (viewing revision 13, which is the newest) (diff)