The Hypometric Weapon was a device which could "delete" matter from a variable spherical area of space, within a range of several light-hours. Contained in a shaft of variable size, the weapon could be equipped on lighthuggers or single crew craft. Its "corkscrewing, meshing, interweaving gyre of myriad silver blades" had to be calibrated down to the atomic-scale, or risk catastrophe.
As noted by Aura, the being who gifted the technology to humanity, it was so advanced that only after two-to-three million years of star travel was a civilization likely to create comparable weapons.
Originally effective against the Inhibitors, later engagements proved that they had developed (or remembered from their ancient past) a means to completely negate the hypometric weapon's effectiveness.
- It is theorized by Scorpio in the novel Absolution Gap that the hypometric weapon doesn't delete matter at all, but that it merely translocates the matter to somewhere else. The hopeless ignorance of its human users as to its actual function makes either answer equally plausible.
- While it is described as being equipped on a one-man ship, that miniaturized version, presumably, has a far shorter range.
- Whether the Inhibitor's immunity to the weapon is unique to that one pack or species-wide is unknown.