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Fire at will, Commander!
This is a heavy weapon which contains multiple smaller devices that send out a stream, beam, blast, etc.. Those all converge into a single stream, beam, blast, etc., that is more powerful than the sum of its parts.
Usually, the resulting stream goes in the logical direction — that is, in the direction produced by taking the average of the directions of the intersecting beams (although more advanced versions are able to swivel
in any direction).
Besides Rule of Cool
, this kind of weapon has grounding in conceptual mathematics. If lasers could add in the way vectors do, the result would be a laser of many times more magnitude than if it were simply fired from a single barrel (that is, the resultant beam travels several times faster than the speed of light). Fortunately for unexploded planets everywhere, this is not the case.
The inversion of this trope, where one attack splits into many, is Recursive Ammo
or Spread Shot
Compare All Your Powers Combined
, Wave Motion Gun
Anime and Manga
- On Babylon 5, Vorlon ships had several booms on the front of the ship that each emitted a lightning bolt - like beam. They met in the middle to create a Wave-Motion Tuning Fork effect.
- The Interstellar Alliance's Victory-class destroyers (which were based in part on stolen Vorlon technology) used beams sent from the three wingtips to the front to convert the entire ship into a massive Wave Motion Gun.
- In Star Trek: The Next Generation, the Federation developed a 'collimator beam' made of dozens of small phaser banks spread along the rim of a ship, the energy can be seen flowing along the surface of the Enterprise until it meets at one point, and then fires off from the point on the phaser bank row closest to the target.
- The basic enemy fighter ship in Kara no Messeji: Ginga Taisen did this.
- Several Power Rangers weapons work by this, the first being the original Rangers' Power Cannon from season two (one barrel fires five energy balls... that turn into one much more Badass one.)
- The weapon Torchwood use against the fleeing Sycorax ship in the Doctor Who episode "The Christmas Invasion".
- The Eye of Ra (the Wave Motion Gun Anubis uses against Abydos) in Stargate SG-1 is one of these. This makes sense, since the entire episode ("Full Circle") is a huge Shout-Out to/Affectionate Parody of Star Wars (particularly A New Hope), with Lampshade Hanging aplenty.
- Multiple Beam Cannon units from Command & Conquer 3 will sometimes do this.
- The Ion Cannon also works in this manner. Unfortunately, this telegraphs the actual attack, enabling your enemy to sell all buildings in the target zone before the main blast occurs.
- In Red Alert 3, the Athena bombardment vehicle features converging beams on its gun. Unusually, they emerge from the same point on the Athena and "sweep" towards to the target from the left, right, and top. Also, they're the targeting lasers - once they converge, the real weapon shoots down from orbit.
- Xenosaga Episode I had the Rhine Maiden, a converging wave-motion gun comprising the Dammerung and four smaller vessels in formation.
- StarCraft II's Void Ray is a new Protoss ship built by the Dark Templar which serves this purpose. The number of beams that converge actually increases over time, letting it be a much better weapon against targets that take a while to kill (though it's still damn good against infantry). It should be noted that the Void ray uses a focusing crystal to do this.
- In the original game, the warm-up graphic for the Battlecruiser's Yamato Cannon was this, several orange globs of energy converging into a single blob. The Yamato is supposed to be the result of causing a nuclear explosion inside a magnetic containment field, then giving a single way out.
- Wing Commander Prophecy was supposed to have the Tiamat dreadnought equipped with a version of the "fleet killer" plasma gun mounted in the Kraken, with the green glowing tips of the Tiamat's arms forming the beam, but technical difficulties prevented it from being implemented.
- Bang: Gunship Elite has many weapons, one of which fires rapidfire bolts from the meeting point of three continuous beams that emanate from three prongs in front of the ship.
- This looks to have been averted in FreeSpace 2 with the Sathanas dreadnought, which has four massive frontal arms, each with its own beam cannon. Until the end, when they're brought together to form a sort of wibbly wobbly Swirly Energy Thingy between the arms.
- Vassago's Dirge, a game mod, shows the titular Ravana destroyer doing this however.
- Many of the Polaris vessels in Escape Velocity Nova (most notably the Arachnid and Raven) do this with their pink CPL (Capacitor Pulse Laser).
- Star Trek: Armada 2 has the Species 8472 weapon mentioned above. It's severely Awesome, but Impractical, given that it needs one specialized ship and eight others, plus the necessary research, but it can depopulate a planet or destroy most any ship if you can land a hit.
- In the Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's Portable games, Hayate's Ragnarok is portrayed like this. The three beams that fire from the points of the Belkan Traingle spiral towards one another and converge into one larger beam that strike the target, then Hayate triggers the last part of the spell to make the resulting beam even bigger.
- If the Halo anime Legends is taken into account, Forerunner weapons often utilize this. A small fleet of ships in formation form a web of energy lines, which the central ship fires at a fleet of Flood ships. Forerunner infantry are also seen with Laser Blade /Ray Gun weapons which, when fired simultaneously, form combining highly-destructive Sword Beams.
- Lasers sometimes have multiple sources, then focus them all together into one coherent beam on exit (particularly ones that are supposed to be stupidly powerful, but where mobility is not a concern, like in laboratories).
- This is also the logic behind a phased array, we just can't do it with lasers... yet.
- And a phased array laser would be called... you guessed it, a phaser!
- An 'implosion bomb' uses multiple smaller explosions to set off the main charge.
- Some radiotherapy devices used for treatment of highly localized brain tumors operate on this principle. The method is called "gamma knife radiotherapy". Basically, they send several hundred (usually over 200) narrow gamma ray beams into your head. Each beam is fairly weak and doesn't do much damage, but they all intersect where the tumor is located. * Sizzle!*
- Though not a weapon, this is how inertial confinement fusion reactors are supposed to work - with hundreds of laser beams converging on a tiny spherical pellet of fuel, causing it to implode and ignite a fusion reaction.