Dune: Technology: Stone Burner
A stone burner is hands-down the most destructive weapon in the Dune universe, and maybe in all of sci-fi. The stone burner can perform one of two devastating tasks; The first function of the bomb is to release massive amounts of J-rays (a type of radiation that dissolves eye tissue immediately), thus blinding all creatures within a few kilometers. The second objective of the stone burner is to outright destroy the world its detonated on! After the device is activated the device sets off an explosion that is targeted straight up and down. The range of the explosion is pre-determined by the person(s) setting up the device as well, as being limited by its power source. Should the party wish it, the stone burner could explode down to the core of the planet. The resulting sudden release of the planets inner magma, would tear the world apart. It's kinds of like pricking a balloon full of confetti.
A stoner buner annihilating a section of Arrakeen
Despite its massive explosion, the stone burner isn't strictly speaking an atomic [weapon]. Its fuel source is though. A stone burner first detonates an atomic within itself, then collects the energy to use for its other devastating tasks.
Legally speaking, the stone burner is tricky subject. According to the great convention, only Great Houses may posses atomics. So a non-noble could own a stone-burner, but they couldn't posses its fuel. Which is kind of like owning a car, but being unable to buy any petrol, to power it. Also according to the Great Convention, weapons of mass destruction such as atomics and stone burners may not be used directly on humans. But there are ways around it. Paul Muad'dib used an atomic to destroy the shield wall when attacking the Harkonnens for control of Arrakeen (and ultimately Arrakis). Since no people were targeted by the explosion, the use of an atomic was quasi-legal. Likewise, when the Fremen were attacking Naraj, during Muad'dib's Second Crusade, the Naraj defenders used a stone burner to blind the attacking Fremen, but not to kill them. Again, this maneuver was barely legal.
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Dune reviews are © 2004 Ryan Bechtel.
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