David Louis Edelman
'MultiReal' trade paperback cover

On Dartguns and Disruptors

The nature of warfare (like almost everything else) underwent a dramatic shift in the early years of the Reawakening. Improvements in OCHRE technology and bio/logic programming made it abundantly clear to battle tacticians that old-fashioned weapons were simply not up to the challenge of modern combat.

The new medical knowledge and the rapid-healing capabilities of OCHREs (not to mention advances in body armor) made constructing a lethal projectile weapon a much more difficult task. In such a world, even advanced biological and chemical weaponry quickly became outmoded.

Nuclear weapons programs were never restarted after the tumult and chaos of the Autonomous Revolt, in which several smaller nuclear strikes were executed. The death of the nation-state ensured that there were no large, well-funded organizations with the wherewithal and desire to construct atomic weapons; and the advent of multi and the Data Sea made bombs increasingly irrelevant when your enemies were scattered around the globe and rarely present in large numbers.

So combat tacticians of the Reawakening developed the dartgun.


The standard weapon of modern times is the dartgun. Much like their ancestors from antiquity, dartguns shoot thin, needle-like projectiles at great distances. But whereas ancient darts were often tipped with poisons and neurotoxins, modern darts are loaded with microscopic OCHREs containing self-executing programs.

Weapons programmers have grown remarkably proficient at creating OCHREs that can spread through the body and immobilize or kill an adversary within fractions of a second. Much of this is accomplished with controlled radio and subaether transmissions from the infecting OCHREs that interact with other machines implanted in the body. The complexity of the OCHRE system ensures that there will always be loopholes to be exploited.

While it might seem like body armor could easily neutralize the threat of OCHRE-tipped darts, weapons engineers have become so proficient at creating armor-piercing darts as to render this strategy useless. Modern tacticians tend to focus on trying to quickly nullify or neutralize the effects of the invading code instead.

Multi Disruptors

Multi disruptors (often simply called “disruptors”) were originally designed with one purpose in mind: to forcefully cut someone’s multi connection. Before such weapons came into existence, there was nothing stopping an army from sending a multied intelligence agent into the midst of an enemy force. Such fears were also drastically slowing public adoption of the technology.

Common belief states that the Defense and Wellness Council initiated disruptor research as a way to safeguard the multi system. Having such weapons available, so the reasoning went, made seditious elements less likely to attack the multi system itself.

It has become public knowledge, however, that the Council has transformed the multi disruptor from a purely defensive weapon into an offensive one. Various drudge reports state that these advanced disruptors can actually inject programming code into an enemy’s bio/logic systems, much in the same fashion as an OCHRE-tipped dart. The Council has been loathe to publicize or even admit the existence of these weapons, however, fearing that such actions might lead to widespread panic and abandonment of the multi system.

The New Warfare Act of 221

Probably the most significant piece of legislation to make its way through the government in the early 200s was the New Warfare Act of 221. This bill legalized non-lethal warfare and set the ground rules for nearly all conflicts that have followed since.

The bill essentially allows any citizen to carry and deploy non-lethal force in a wide variety of circumstances. As a consequence, private security has become a huge business, with every organization from creeds to bureaucrats to L-PRACGs hiring its own private force.

Proponents of the New Warfare Act say that this legislation has drastically reduced the casualties of conflict and pushed opposing parties to discuss their grievances in a more civilized fashion. But opponents claim that non-lethal warfare has produced thousands of private security forces with conflicting agendas who feel no compunction about shooting first and asking questions later.

The most controversial provision of the New Warfare Act actually requires L-PRACGs to leave security “trap doors” in their membership’s OCHRE systems that are only accessible to the central government. The goal was to standardize weapons systems and prevent an escalating technology war. This provision drew (and continues to draw) public outcry, with libertarian activists calling it “legalized slavery to the Defense and Wellness Council.” It is believed that there are few L-PRACGs who actually comply with this law. Thus far, the Defense and Wellness Council has not sought to enforce it — although this may be primarily because the Council’s weapons systems are still effective enough to overcome any private programming defenses.


Excerpted from “MultiReal” by David Louis Edelman. Copyright © 2008 by David Louis Edelman. Reprinted by permission of Pyr, an imprint of Prometheus Books. Excerpt licensed under a Creative Commons License.