Size and shape:
Organic target destruction
Keshke'Hwa Dynasty, ECT
Common firing modes:
Autolysis, more commonly known as self-digestion, refers to the destruction of a cell through the action of its own Enzymes. It may also refer to the digestion of an enzyme by another molecule of the same enzyme.
Before this natural process was employed as a weapon this simple scientific factor was nearly ignored by Imperial Genetors and Artisans. Weapons that utilize various radiation sources and emissions to trigger rapid Autolysis in living tissue have steadily become more widely used by various races across the galaxy. However with all Autolysis weapons there is a severe risk of the weapon harming or even killing to the operator. Lethal and nearly uncontrollable radiations are used to invoke the rapid Autolysis of the target.
Theory of operation
- "By the emperor...My arm, it's...it's..ah...AHHHHHHH!"
- —A Guardsmen whose arm was effected by a Autolysis weapon
Basic weapon mechanics
All Autolysis weapons function off the same basic principle, however the means each weapon achieves this depends on which organization or race is employing the weapon. The typical use of a Autolysis weapon is that the weapon carries some source of rapid Autolysis inducing radiation which the weapon then either projects onto a target or launches the radiation source at the target. Typically the more the weapon is used on a single target aria the more the Autolysis inducing radiation will build making the target aria far more lethal to remain in, as well as reducing the protective potential of any armor an individual may wear, this effect even applies to vehicles as eventually the radiation will effect the crew within. However not only is the potential of an allied unit walking into a field of this lingering radiation and suffering it's effects a possibility, but weapon failure could prove catastrophic for the user and his squad as they could potentially be exposed to a direct radiation source which would induce Rapid Autolysis of their cells.
Autolysis weapons, though differing in form, all invoke the same distinct effects. Rapid Autolysis forces the cellular structure of living tissues in a victim's body to begin to rapidly and suddenly digest themselves. In the initial few seconds of the Autolysis effect victims may feel intense pain as their nervous system cells begin degenerate, however this is cut short as soon they will lose all feeling from the now destroyed nerves. Even as this takes place portions of the body, or the entire body itself, will undergo a series of noticeable chemical reactions. The flesh will swell and generate heat, certain portions of the body will quickly rot while others, most noticeably muscle tissues, will degenerate and foam. Typically few victims live long enough to witness the final stages, however, those that due will watch as their skin simply detaches from their body and the ligaments holding their bones in place fail causing their limbs, if they haven't already, to fail and simply break away from their core. The final result of a Autolysis weapon which has taken full effect will be a pile of foaming bones with whatever war-gear and clothing the target had on hand laying atop of them or nearby.
Debatably the first organization confirmed to mass produce the Autolysis weapon, Keshke'Hwa Autolysis weapons are extremely dangerous with no regards to user safety as the Necron using the weapons have no Organic components which could undergo Autolysis.
Keshke'Hwa Autolysis rifles and cannons utilize directed radiation beams to rapidly saturate a target aria with the necessary energy waves to induce rapid Autolysis. While the users weapon itself retains the radiation source ensuring the Keshke'Hwa Necron using the weapon will not soon run low on ammunition.
The second Autolysis weapon used by the Keshke'Hwa are the Death Flairs, miniaturized Radiation sources that glow with the energy they emit. These are fired as artillery or dropped from a Necron Night Shroud over an enemy location. The radiation emitted by this weapon is enough to instantaneously kill an entire village.
Melhesti Autolysis weapons
A specialized Long range weapon which the Melhesti use to fire Radioactive rods into enemy formations. Death-Rod Launchers transform the target aria into a instant death zone, and will often cause great biological harm on the way to the target.
The Melhesti Rad missile contains a powerful Autolysis inducing core which is exposed and scattered as shrapnel over an aria when the missile detonates in a target aria. These weapons are typically used as aria denial weapons however occasionally Rad-Missiles will find themselves fired into enemy encampments.
One of the few factions to make use of mass-produced Autolysis weaponry, the Kryschine's version of these weapons are highly unstable and dangerous to organic users, as they make no attempt to shield their users from radiation. Radiation which the Kryschine have near immunity to.
Autolysis Rifle-11 "Death Shredder
The AR-11, known commonly as the Death Shredder to the Imperial Guard, is a radiation projection beam weapon. The Death Shredder has a incredibly weak stasis field, which causes the Death Shredder's radiation source to constantly leak. The Death Shredder was designed to be used for medium-ranged engagements, fast firing, and accuracy.
Autolysis Rifle-661 "Death Spiker"
The AR-661, known as the Death Spiker to the Imperial Guard, is a projectile Autolysis Weapon. It works by shooting out vast amounts of unshielded radiated rods, which can cause entire squads of enemies to undergo rapid Autolysis. Because of the unshielded nature of the rods, even before they are fired these weapons are still capable of causing Autolysis. Because of the power of these weapons, they can be used for any range engagement and can fire around ten rods every five seconds while holding a max of fifty rods.
Weapon class advantages
After action reports from organizations which have made use of Autolysis weaponry, or fought against those who make use of Autolysis weapons, indicate that the Autolysis weapon has primarily been deployed as a aria denial weapon preventing squads from advancing, or slowly building up radiation around a pinned unit to eventually kill them. The weapon is able to penetrate almost all light armors and given time to build up enough radiation that even heavier armors prove useless against the weapon's horrid effect.
Psychologically this weapon class easily creates terror in all but the most hardened squads, as squad members will suddenly, rapidly, and gruesomely decay before the eyes of comrades. Autolysis weapons have proven themselves effective in operations where delicate relics, or machines must be taken from an enemy force and damage to said item is impermissible. Against races who insist on the use of light armor, or biologically engineered warriors the Autolysis weapon has proven exceptionally effective.
Weapon class Disadvantages
Despite the battlefield advantages of a Autolysis weapon the risk of weapon failure severely reduces it's value to field commanders. If a Autolysis weapon were ever to be destroyed or suffer a catastrophic failure the weapon's wielder and potentially his entire squad could instead turn into the victims of the weapon's horrible effect.
The Autolysis weapon has a distinct series of effects and experienced soldiers can easily tell when one has been used nearby, such examples include how some skilled guardsmen have taken small jars of bread yeast to battle with them watching for the yeast to rise as a result of the Autolysis inducing radiation. Also against organizations and races more keen on utilizing non-organic soldiery such as the Necron, Tau battle drones, and even Eldar Wraithguards the weapon proves to be useless as these enemies have no organic cells which might undergo Autolysis.