Quirium Cascade Mine
Simply put, a Q-bomb (or to use its proper name, the Tyley-Feynman Quirium cascade mine) is a chain reaction device. It is a very small bomb, and has been described as being 'like a minature supernova, and just as deadly'. The gravitic shockwave it emits causes any matter caught within its range to be annihilated in another deadly gravitic flash, resulting in a 'domino topple' effect. This means the initial Q-bomb explosion is only the start. Secondary explosions (the strongest caused by the destruction of its victims hyperdrives) progress in much the same way, catching further objects - until there is no more significant matter to be consumed by the expanding waves of destruction.
The explosion expands in a sphere from the initial detonation. It is accompanied by the emission of high energy photons (from gamma rays to visible light, mostly in the upper end of the spectrum). The expansion of the sphere is easily observable (from a safe distance) and travels relatively slowly. The word 'relatively' is key here - most ships can't outrun the expanding sphere without witch space fuel injectors, and if a ship doesn't make good its escape early on, even injectors may not get the craft out of trouble.
Thus, the results of a Q-bombing can be extremely spectacular.
The Q-bomb is not a very effective offensive weapon. Pirates seldom carry the device as it destroys everything in its path - so it is no use for extracting cargo from a fleet of traders. Typically it is only carried by traders, and used as a last ditch defence: for many trading vessels, the use of a Q-bomb is suicide, even with the timer set to its longest launch to detonation interval.
Many commanders who have used a Q-bomb have not lived to tell the tale - even in a fast craft like a Fer de Lance, it is necessary to fly directly away from the device as soon as it is launched, otherwise the sinister blue sphere of energy will catch up and destroy the ship that launched the weapon. Most manufacturers recommend that the device is only carried on ships that have witch space fuel injectors.
The Q-bomb is carried on a standard missile mounting point. Select the Q-bomb like any other missile (t). It does not need to be fixed on any particular target (and cannot be targeted). Release it like a normal missile (m). Be sure to drop it as close to the centre of any action you wish to see an end to.
The Q-bomb is a controversial weapon, able to inflict enormous destructive power and cascade beyond the original target area. As such it is considered a significant terrorist threat, and vigilant viper patrols are carried out near significant structures scanning for tell-tale gravimetric emissions from close passing ships. A leaked video simulation of what could happen if the Q-Bomb was deployed by terrorists was recovered from Galcop files and can be accessed here.
Cost: 2500.0 Cr. Techlevel: 6
It is not immediately clear who created the Q-Bomb. Galcop strenuously denies having anything to do with the bomb, and unofficially supported the call for it to banned, stating that it should never have been invented. So they were obviously involved right from the start.
Tyley and Feynman were never interviewed, never received any public accolade. It was said that they were merely research scientists who shied away from scrutiny and the media spotlight, not proud of the device they had created. No photos exist and no records of life events can be found. They have never been heard from since.
From what can be reconstructed from witness reports, the Q-Bomb was first deployed from a renegade prototype SuperCobra in the Zaonce system. It is alleged that 4 Galcop Vipers were destroyed as a result. The Q-Bomb was also responsible for the destruction of a Thargoid Battleship above Lave's Moon in 3138, during the Wagargate crisis.
These events, the story of the how the Q-bomb came to be and the fate of those persons involved, is told in the Tionisla Chronicle publication Status Quo. The Q-Bomb was banned across Galcop, Federation and Imperial space in the year 3158, as a significant outcome of the Aesbion Conflict.