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Codex/Weapons, Armor and Equipment

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Advances in technology have made individual soldiers more dangerous and survivable than ever before.

Primary Codex Entries Edit

Blackstar Edit

The Reaper weapon nicknamed "Blackstar" is so advanced that Alliance scientists can only offer speculation about how it works. The gun appears to exploit an element zero core and mass effect fields to fire gravitational singularities--micro black holes--that revert to their natural lethality when they impact a solid object. Researchers theorize that the blast tears apart the strong nuclear forces that hold the target's atoms together, resulting in a localized fusion reaction in light atoms and a fission reaction in heavy atoms. If that hypothesis is correct, the weapon alters nuclei, thus changing the chemical composition of the target. It destroys organic tissue, corrodes surviving armor, and leaves a visible trail of light-emitting particles.

Although some might argue that the Blackstar's single-launch capability makes it a liability, its capacity for utter destruction is essential when the user requires large-scale, instantaneous damage.

Body Armor Edit

Combat hard-suits use a dual-layer system to protect the wearer. The inner layer consists of fabric armor with kinetic padding. Areas that don't need to be flexible, such as the chest or shins, are reinforced with sheets of lightweight ablative ceramic.

The outer layer consists of automatically-generated kinetic barriers. Objects traveling above a certain speed will trigger the barrier's reflex system and be deflected, provided there is enough energy left in the shield's power cell.

Armored hard-suits are sealable to protect the wearer from extremes of temperature and atmosphere. Standard equipment includes an onboard mini-frame and a communications, navigation, and sensing suite. The mini-frame is designed to accept and display data from a weapon's smart targeting system to make it easier to locate and eliminate enemies.

Collector Particle Beam Edit

The Collectors' particle beam weapon is strangely crafted, possessing few moving pieces, lacking any obvious means for disassembly, and containing organics parts. The amount of energy required to create a destructive beam is several orders of magnitude more than the energy required to launch a physical projectile at high velocity via a mass effect field. Lacking any clear ammunition or fuel source, the device likely uses heat sinks or compensators to maintain firing during sustained combat. Current Cerberus efforts to understand the technology and replicate it have failed.

Geth Spitfire Edit

Like the geth plasma shotgun, the Spitfire is not a true energy weapon. Instead, the minigun magnetically flings clusters of superconducting toroids. These donut-shaped projectiles are designed to shatter upon impact, arcing electricity between the fragments and flash-converting them to plasma. The gun's punishing, automatic blasts impact with the heat of a cutting torch.

The weapon's stopping power has garnered the attention of both Alliance and quarian intelligence, who theorize that the Spitfire may have been designed to destroy other geth. Enough Spitfires have been found in the field to suggest that the weapon is out of the prototyping stage, and that a schism among synthetics may have forced them into production.

Kinetic Barriers ("Shields") Edit

Kinetic barriers, colloquially called "shields", provide protection against most mass accelerator weapons. Whether on a starship or a soldier's suit of armor, the basic principle remains the same.

Kinetic barriers are repulsive mass effect fields projected from tiny emitters. These shields safely deflect small objects traveling at rapid velocities. This affords protection from bullets and other dangerous projectiles, but still allows the user to sit down without knocking away their chair.

The shielding afforded by kinetic barriers does not protect against extremes of temperature, toxins, or radiation.

Mass Accelerators Edit

A mass accelerator propels a solid metal slug using precisely-controlled electromagnetic attraction and repulsion. The slug is designed to squash or shatter on impact, increasing the energy it transfers to the target. If this were not the case, it would simply punch a hole right through, doing minimal damage.

Accelerator design was revolutionized by element zero. A slug lightened by a mass effect field can be accelerated to greater speeds, permitting projectile velocities that were previously unattainable. If accelerated to a high enough velocity, a simple paint chip can impact with the same destructive force as a nuclear weapon. However, mass accelerators produce recoil equal to their impact energy. This is mitigated somewhat by the mass effect fields that rounds are suspended within, but weapon recoil is still the prime limiting factor on slug velocity.

M-560 Hydra Edit

Before the introduction of the M-560 Hydra, missile launchers either focused on bringing down a single armored target or simultaneously neutralizing multiple unarmored opponents. With the Hydra, a soldier no longer needs to choose between the two.

The Hydra releases a barrage of miniature missiles, each guided by an independent homing system that seeks out exposed enemies. On impact, three shaped charges per missile explode in sequence. The first overloads the target's kinetic barriers before the second destroys its armor, clearing a path for the third warhead to detonate inside the target.

M-622 Avalanche Edit

Still in its experimental stages, the M-622 Avalanche generates a Bose-Einstein condensate within a mass effect bubble which dissipates on impact, violently spraying the condensate outward and coating the target in a near-absolute-zero superfluid.

The Avalanche is unreliable, at times merely coating its target with ice, defacing exposed skin and freezing armor joints. Such low temperatures cause great damage to electronics like kinetic barrier emitters, which sometimes leads to total systems failure. At the other extreme, the Avalanche freezes flesh and bone, causing massive trauma as blood vessels constrict and frozen blood expands. Occasionally such iced tissue shatters.

M-920 Cain Edit

Mass Effect 2 Edit

The M-920 Cain is a portable particle accelerator surrounding an array of dust-form element zero chambers. This weapon prototype subjects its eezo to extreme positive and negative currents to project mass effect fields. By increasing and decreasing mass, the fields shear the target's mass the way disruptor torpedoes do. The shearing fields collide ambient materials at such high speeds, they create mushroom clouds, an effect otherwise impossible on the small scale. The weapon induces neither fission nor fusion in non-nuclear targets, and its own nuclear reactions are shielded by lead alloys. The M-920 Cain uses graphite rods as neutron moderators, which require frequent replacement to sustain power. Fortunately, most heavy weapon ammunition can be re-fabricated via omni-tool into graphite rods.

Mass Effect 3 Edit

The M-920 Cain is a portable particle accelerator surrounding an array of dust-form element zero chambers. By subjecting its eezo chambers to extreme positive and negative currents fueled by antimatter reactions, the weapon projects mass effect fields that shear away at the target. The fields warp ambient materials with such explosive force that the impact produces a mushroom cloud. This has led Alliance marines to call the Cain a "nuke gun," though its detonations do not in fact produce fallout.

The M-920 uses graphite rods as neutron moderators, but they require frequent replacement to sustain power. Fortunately, the omni-tool can refabricate most heavy weapon ammunition into graphite rods. The amount of charge-up time is understandable as the weapon is a juggernaut capable of unstoppable destructive power.

Medi-Gel Edit

Medi-gel is a common medicinal salve used by paramedics, EMTs, and military personnel. It combines several useful applications: a local anesthetic, disinfectant and clotting agent all in one. Once applied, the gel is designed to grip tight to flesh until subjected to a frequency of ultrasound. It is sealable against liquids - most notably blood - as well as contaminants and gasses.

The gel is a genetically-engineered bioplasm created by the Sirta Foundation, a medical technology megacorp based on Earth. Technically, medi-gel violates Council laws against genetic engineering, but so far, it has proved far too useful to ban.

ML-77 Missile Launcher Edit

Based on existing technology, the ML-77 is a rapid-fire missile launcher using seeking projectiles. Each projectile features a friend-or-foe recognition system, ensuring it will find a hostile target even if the user's aim is not completely accurate.

The weapon excels at taking out snipers and other entrenched enemies in dense urban environments. This makes it popular with mercenary groups, particularly the Blue Suns. Missile launchers have been appearing with increasing frequency in the Terminus Systems, but their point of manufacture is unknown. Legal duplication of missile launchers is difficult due to Fabrication Rights Management (FRM) technology.

Omni-Tool Weapons Edit

Although melee-combat applications for the omni-tool are almost as old as the device itself, the feature was largely unused prior to the Reaper invasion. The need to take on multiple husks in close quarters forced the Alliance to develop ways to enhance the tool's offensive capability.

The most common melee design is the "omni-blade," a disposable silicon-carbide weapon flash-forged by the tool's mini-fabricator. The transparent, nearly diamond-hard blade is created and suspended in a mass effect field safely away from the user's skin. Warning lights illuminate the field so the searing-hot blade only burns what it is intended to: the opponent.

More technically adept soldiers frequently modify their omni-tools to maximize stopping power through electrical, kinetic, or thermal energy. Some troops integrate their weapon with their kinetic barriers, transforming the omni-tool into a wrist-mounted bludgeon; others fabricate flammable gases, held in place by a mass effect field and ignited upon impact. All prove deadly surprises for opponents who expect a disarmed Alliance warrior.

Small Arms Edit

All modern infantry weapons from pistols to assault rifles use micro-scaled mass accelerator technology. Projectiles consist of tiny metal slugs suspended within a mass-reducing field, accelerated by magnetic force to speeds that inflict kinetic damage.

The ammo magazine is a simple block of metal. The gun's internal computer calculates the mass needed to reach the target based on distance, gravity, and atmospheric pressure, then shears off an appropriately sized slug from the block. A single block can supply thousands of rounds, making ammo a non-issue during any engagement.

Top-line weapons also feature smart targeting that allows them to correct for weather and environment. Firing on a target in a howling gale feels the same as it does on a calm day on a practice range. Smart targeting does not mean a bullet will automatically find the mark every time the trigger is pulled; it only makes it easier for the marksman to aim.

Secondary Codex Entries Edit

Arc Projector Edit

"Laser-guided lightning" is how Cerberus operatives sum up this unusual weapon developed for use against synthetic enemies. It was created for field operatives who required an anti-geth weapon but found omni-tools too complex to master or too hard to fire in the throes of an adrenaline rush.

To make it as simple as possible to shoot, the arc projector has a single trigger that takes the weapon through three operations. Depressing the first stage of the trigger causes the weapon to irradiate a target with a neutron-driven gamma-ray laser, which projects a beam invisible to the naked eye. This beam ionizes a thin corridor of air and any medium it passes through, including most solid targets. When the second stage of the trigger is pulled, the projector generates a massive electrical impulse. This arcs down the ionized corridor, causing trauma to living targets through tissue burns and mechanical force (convulsions). Synthetic targets' circuits typically melt and fuse. By 22nd-century standards, the weapon's power needs are not large -- it kills less through absolute amperage and more through sustaining the current for more microseconds than, say, an actual bolt of lightning.

It is during the third stage of the trigger pull that the projector's autotargeting system works to its full capacity. While it is still being projected during the electrical attack, the laser is reflected by movable optical fibers in the weapon's business end to "paint" additional targets designated by the gun's targeting computer. Given a new path of least resistance and surrounded by targets of differing potential, the electrical jolt then arcs from its first target to hit additional enemies. The effect on massed mechs is predictably devastating, as are the psychological effects on living foes, who suddenly discover that neither shields nor cover can keep them safe.

Body Armor Edit

Modern combat hard-suits have a "triple canopy" of protection: shields, armor, and self-repair. The outermost layer is created through kinetic barrier emitters, which detect objects incoming at a high rate of speed and generate deflecting "shields" provided they have enough energy in their power cells.

If a bullet or other incoming object gets past the barrier, it contends with the more traditional body armor. A sealed suit of non-porous ballistic cloth provides kinetic and environmental protection, reinforced by lightweight composite ceramic plates in areas that either don't need to flex or require additional coverage, such as the chest and head. When the armor is hit by directed energy weapons, the plates boil away or ablate rather than burning the wearer.

The last level of protection is provided by the suit's microframe computers, whose input detectors are woven throughout the fabric. These manage the self-healing system, which finds rents in the fabric and, assuming any such tear would wound the flesh underneath, seals the area off with sterile, non-conductive medi-gel. This stanches minor wounds and plugs holes in the suit that could prove fatal in vacuum or toxic environments. Soldiers are not always fond of the "squish skin" that oozes gel on them at a moment's notice, but fatalities have dropped sharply since the system was implemented.

Kinetic Barriers ("Shields") Edit

Codex ME2 - Kinetic Barriers

Kinetic barriers, commonly called shields, provide protection against most mass accelerator weapons. Whether on starships or a soldier's suit of armor, the basic principle remains the same.

Kinetic barriers are repulsive mass effect fields projected from tiny emitters. These shields safely deflect small objects traveling at rapid velocities. This affords protection from bullets and other dangerous projectiles, but still allows the user to sit down without knocking away their chair.

The shielding afforded by kinetic barriers does not protect against extremes of temperature, toxins, or radiation.

M-490 Blackstorm Edit

The Blackstorm Gravitational Singularity Projector is the brainchild of weapon designer Eli Wegner, one of the few humans who earned the privilege of serving with asari commando units. Overawed with how the asari could create biotic singularities to pull opponents out from behind cover, he was determined to duplicate the feat technologically.

Wegner's team created a weapon that could elevate target particles of matter to near-infinite mass, creating a gravitational singularity and drawing nearby objects inward for a short time. The rapidly-increasing gravity rips the target apart as it pulls the enemy closer to the singularity's center. When the mass effect field destabilizes and suddenly returns to normal mass, the result is explosive, and inflicts additional trauma on the enemy.

The weapon almost didn't happen. Early designs were dangerously unstable: the science for creating a hyper-dense mass effect field was well established, but projecting it at an adjustable range proved elusive. It was only after six years of development that the weapon finally qualified for Systems Alliance AIHW (Advanced Individual Heavy Weapon) trials. By that time, the singularity projector was rugged, reliable, and easy to use and repair. It immediately went to field tests in a small-scale desert war on Earth where the weapon terrified opponents who had never seen its effects before. The swirling sand and dust sucking soldiers into its center served as the centerpiece of many propaganda videos. In the resulting media coverage, the Wegner Arms M-490 GSP became known by its simpler nickname, the "black hole gun." His dream finally a reality, Wegner personally altered its name to the more marketable "Blackstorm."

Mass Accelerators Edit

ME2 SR - Widow

A mass accelerator propels a solid metal slug using precisely-controlled electromagnetic attraction and repulsion. The slug is designed to squash or shatter on impact, increasing the energy it transfers to the target. If this were not the case, it would simply punch a hole right through, doing minimal damage.

Accelerator design was revolutionized by element zero. A slug lightened by a mass effect field can be accelerated to greater speeds, permitting projectile velocities that were previously unobtainable. If accelerated to a high enough velocity, a simple paint chip can impact with the same destructive force as a nuclear weapon.

However, mass accelerators produce recoil equal to their impact energy. This is mitigated somewhat by the mass effect fields that rounds are suspended within, but weapon recoil is still the prime limiting factor on slug velocity.

Small Arms Edit

Modern infantry weapons are micro-scaled mass accelerators, using mass-reducing fields and magnetic force to propel miniature slugs to lethal speeds. Nearly every gun on the battlefield is laden with features, from targeting auto-assists to projectile shavers that can generate thousands of rounds of ammunition from a small, internal block of metal.

It was long thought that personal weapons had plateaued in performance, but the geth proved all theories wrong. Mathematically reviewing their combat logs, the geth found that in an age of kinetic barriers, most firefights were won by the side who could put the most rounds down-range the fastest. But combatants were forced to deliberately shoot slower to manage waste heat, or pause as their weapons vented.

To eliminate this inefficiency, the geth adopted detachable heat sinks known as thermal clips. While organic arms manufacturers were initially doubtful this would produce a net gain, a well-trained soldier can eject and swap thermal clips in under a second. Faced with superior enemy firepower, organic armies soon followed the geth's lead, and today's battlefields are littered with these thermal clips.

Tech Armor and Fortification Edit

Although body armor and kinetic barriers provide significant protection for relatively low cost, technically savvy soldiers sometimes go further.

"Tech Armor" is the common term for a complex series of field generators that disrupt incoming force using a stationary warp effect. The theory is that bullets that would normally shatter on impact instead break apart when they strike the field. The field then bleeds away the shrapnel's kinetic energy. The standard design for tech armor traps the warp field between two low-yield kinetic barriers to protect the user from the field itself. When the outer barrier fails, the warp effect is discharged, potentially harming anyone nearby. For this reason, many soldiers modify the armor with a haptic-style light effect to warn allies not to get too close. On missions where stealth is paramount, this effect is disabled. Cynical soldiers joke that the design is called "tech armor" because if it were simply called "warp armor," no one would use it.

The "fortification" approach uses high-energy batteries and superconductive devices within the armor to create a Foucault-current effect, essentially a magnetic field that can immobilize metals, even nonferrous ones. The field is triggered by sensors similar to those in a kinetic barrier. It is powerful enough to protect against most modern weapons, but there are drawbacks. The currents cause metallic objects to hold their position relative to one another, and although the field only lasts for a split second, it creates resistance that can slow or fatigue the wearer. Without specialized training, a soldier can quickly become exhausted or stumble at the wrong time.

Upgrades Edit

Codex ME - Upgrades

The development of practical minifacturing omni-tools allows modern militaries a great deal of flexibility in equipment load-outs. A vast number of field modification kits, or "upgrades", are available for common equipment such as weapons, armor, omni-tools, biotic amps, and even grenades.

An upgrade kit typically consists of less than a dozen unique parts and an optical storage disc. When loaded into an omni-tool, the OSD provides all technical specifications required to manufacture the tool and additional parts necessary to install the upgrade onto another piece of equipment. Assembly is typically modular, and installation can be completed in less than a minute.

Since omni-tools are designed to use common battlefield salvage materials such as plastics, ceramics, and light materials (rendered into semi-molten "omni-gel" for quick use), it is quite possible for a trained soldier carrying upgrade kits to customize gear on the battlefield to fit the current tactical situation.

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