The cache weapons, also known as hell-class devices, were unique and destructive devices created by Galiana of the Conjoiners, during their conflict with the Coalition for Neural Purity. Forty of the diverse weapons were built based on information believed to have been received from the future via the project Exordium. Concerns about the source of the information, and the raw power of the weapons, led the Conjoiners to destroy the knowledge necessary to build additional weapons shortly after construction was completed, and though carefully hidden, the original prototypes were eventually recovered by the Ultranaut crew of the Nostalgia for Infinity.
Each weapon possessed intelligence at least to the level of a gamma level simulation. Sizes varied but all were approximately sixty to seventy meters long and bronze/green in appearance. The weapons were self-contained -- save for targeting data -- and self-propelled, with the most powerful having at least an interplanetary range. After being deployed outside the hull of their carrier vessel, their own engines moved them to a safe distance while acquiring a target. It is not entirely clear the degree of independent thought that each weapon was capable of, nor the degree of security in remote control. They seemed, however, to be fundamentally able to make their own choices about whether or not to fire and whom to target, being able to override the pacification codes the Conjoiners programmed into them.
The power and nature of the weapons varied wildly, and was not fully understood in all cases. The smallest of the weapons seemed to have been considerably more powerful than conventional space-borne weapons, and at least one was deemed capable of destroying a planet-sized object from a distance exceeding 100 AU. It was also suggested that some of the weapons could have negative effects upon stars.
Their level of sophistication differed widely – the most basic cache weapons appeared to be radical extensions of otherwise conventional principles, such as gamma-ray lasers and relativistic projectile weapons with antimatter or neutronium ammunition. Others, however, made use of gravity wave effects and other complex phenomena, with certain weapons even containing microscopic black holes.
Once a weapon was programmed to fire, the process could not be stopped by any method short of destroying it. Some of the weapons appeared to be single use, because the weapon would destroy itself when firing, while others were at least theoretically capable of being reloaded or recharged.
Individual Cache Weapons Edit
- Seventeen: a beam weapon of unknown design, a blast of less than half-a-second duration was sufficient to slice clean through the hyperdiamond cone of a lighthugger.
- Thirty-one: a quintessence-force (also known as dark energy) beam weapon. One of the least powerful of the cache weapons, it nonetheless had extraordinary range, and was capable of gutting a lighthugger.
- (Unspecified): a relativistic projectile weapon with antimatter rounds.
- (Unspecified): a relativistic projectile weapon with neutronium rounds.
- (Unspecified): a supersymmetry beam weapon.
- (Unspecified): a Quark deconfinement beam weapon.
- (Unspecified): an Ack-am projector.
- (Unspecified): a gamma-ray laser, or graser. It was larger and "an order of magnitude" more powerful than any similar weapon kept aboard the well-armed Infinity.
- (Unspecified, aka "Rogue Weapon"): a spacetime soliton wave projector. A weapon which utilised quantum black holes as an element in its firing mechanism, it was capable of dismantling a planet-sized object at a distance of at least 100 AU.
- (Unspecified, aka "Remontoire's Last"): a single-use beam weapon of unknown classification, its blast could cut through hundreds of kilometers of planetary crust and shatter moon-sized objects. Its beam bled light sideways, making it visible even in a vacuum, and it emitted gravitation radiation which could be detected by nearby ships.
- (Unspecified, aka "The Last"): a single-use beam weapon of unknown classification, it was powerful enough to shatter a planetary-scale projection. The weapon slowly consumed the entire chassis during its prolonged firing.
- Before the Battle of Cerberus in Revelation Space Ilia states that she deployed six weapons, including an antimatter projectile weapon and an ack-am projector. Since it is stated earlier in the novel that ack-ams accelerate antimatter projectiles, the difference between the two is unknown. Additionally, later in the novel two projectiles (antimatter and neutronium) and four beam weapons as said to be firing on Cerberus, indicating that the ack-am described must be unlike its hand-held projectile cousin and instead be some kind of beam weapon.
- Despite the Conjoiners Clavain and Remontoire speculating extensively in Redemption Ark about creating more cache weapon by reverse-engineering the technology, this never occurs in later novels.