Modular Pulse Pistol
A modular pulse pistol (MPP) is, as the name implies, a variable configuration sidearm which fires high-intensity pulses of ultraviolet laser light to induce damaging spallation and steam cavitation bubbles within a target.
Mechanics & Inner Workings
The most popular modern version of the MPP is the Knight SM (Special Modular) 308nm. This sturdy sidearm, while rather hefty, can squeeze 12 five-pulse bursts - or 20 three-pulse bursts for soft targets - of 308nm ultraviolet laser light out of a single magazine. The laser frequency is tuneable to an extent, offering 616nm visible (orange) and 539nm (green) visible light beams for different use conditions (i.e. green for underwater operations). These visible-spectrum beams are typically employed only in situations where suitable eye protection is available for the operator, as even the specular reflections of such beams can cause instant blindness in those who observe them. Alternatively, the forward optics can be adjusted with another switch to convert the weapon into a dazzler, inducing temporary blindness in both living eyes and small multispectral scopes operating in the specified wavelengths. The SM features a coaxial sight with limited telephoto zoom, using the laser optics themselves to bring a target into focus at extended range. The SM, as an MPP, has the ability to mount a number of optional attachments. These are among the most common attachments for MPP found in human space and include:
- Smart Optics - A smart optics module attached to existing eyepiece not only improves the zoom and sight image quality of the standard SM, but it also can connect wirelessly to brain-computer interface augmentations to grant the wielder the ability to spot and shoot targets around corners.
- Intercooler - As the barrel of the MPP is part of the weapon's cooling system, attaching an intercooler module to it allows for a greater fire rate and better ammunition efficiency. The Knight SM can mount an intercooler that also contains up to two additional capacitor magazines and provides a foregrip surface, allowing the pulse pistol to fill a similar role to that of a submachine gun.
- Stock - While an MPP is essentially recoilless, adding a stock allows the wielder to shoulder the weapon and, therefore, achieve higher accuracy. The Knight SM stock features space for two more capacitor magazines under the shoulder pad and adds an external ammunition gauge to the weapon.
- Bayonet - Though melee combat is generally to be avoided if at all possible, the tight confines of a spacecraft interior makes it inevitable. The Knight SM bayonet is little more than a hardened tube extending from the barrel and cut at a sharp angle in the manner of a bamboo spear. The shape of the bayonet and the heat generated by the firing of the weapon in combat combine to make the point more effective at penetrating pressure suits, increasing the lethality in a vacuum environment.
The heavy use of MPP by Cobalt Knights has leant the weapon a certain mystique in the popular culture of the Protectorate. A well-kept pulse pistol speaks to the professional caliber of the man who wields it, while a poorly-maintained one suggests a rebellious, devil-may-care attitude or grit won through hard experience. At the same time, the fact that it is commonly carried by spacers, rather than planet-dwellers, also conveys upon the weapon all the symbolic baggage of spacer culture: intellect, competence, ingenuity, a potentially misguided dedication to the group, and a touch of arrogance.
While the planetside citizens of the Cobalt Protectorate generally prefer projectile weapons of the cartridge or electromagnetic variety, spacers (especially Cobalt Knights) prefer the MPP because its magazine - a foliated ultra-capacitor - is significantly lighter and more versatile than a traditional magazine. As such, the MPP is a popular weapon in Evermornan- and Lepidosian-controlled space.