Mass-Reactive Weaponry, often abbreviated to “MMR”, is employed as an anti-hard target system by the Photos for a wide variety of mountings. While still in the Plasma family of weapons, Mass-Reactive weaponry is differentiated by a different, and important, function. Mass-Reactive weapons fire a bolt of hyper-energized plasma that, on impact with solid -or sufficiently dense liquid- matter, causes the fission of a few molecules of the impact area - in layman’s terms, it causes a micro-scale nuclear detonation. The downside, however, is range; the plasma bolt will loose the energy to cause this fission after a relatively short distance, about 200 feet/60 metres for the rifle. This forces operators to get dangerously close to the target, be it a bunker or a tank. In addition, the weapons have to be kept clean less they misfire and blow up in the operator’s hands - the odds of surviving a nuke going off in your face are not good, even with some of the best military powered armor in production.
There are three weapons in the Mass-Reactive family, the first being the Mass-Reactive Pistol. Just recently cleared for service, the Mass-Reactive Pistol was plagued with numerous developmental troubles, the most notable being how to make the energy bolt have enough energy to cause fission at anything past point-blank range, never to state a practical or even safe distance. Eventually, they settled upon something a bit strange for a pistol; the pistol’s entire magazine is fired in a single shot. Unlike most conventional sidearms, this is intended to be a one-shot weapon for popping open hard targets, just like it’s bigger siblings. Unfortunately, it suffers from a short range, even among Mass-Reactive weaponry.
The Mass-Reactive Rifle is arguably the most common of the three conventional variants of the weapon system. Easily man-portable and about the same size as a Plasma Rifle (though almost twice as heavy), the Mass-Reactive Rifle gives Photos infantry some much-needed anti-tank that doesn’t keep them bogged down. Traditionally, anti-tank was either handled with a four-tube missile rack or a shoulder-fired Light Plasma Lance. While both did their jobs well, they required the operator to remain stationary and thus drastically hurt the squad’s mobility, to say nothing of short range/CQB situations like urban combat. The introduction of the Mass-Reactive Rifle made the countering of heavy armor or fortified positions considerably easier.
The Mass-Reactive Cannon is the largest of the conventional Mass-Reactive weapons. Effectively a scaled-up Mass-Reactive Rifle, it is commonly mounted on Assault Armor or as a co-axial gun on tanks. Mass-Reactive Cannons can do a large deal of damage in short order, but are offset by a relative rareness, thanks again to a steep price tag.
In addition to the three conventional weapons, there are variants of much increased size and power for mounting on star-ships, normally used either against capital ships or for planetary bombardment, as against other targets it’s pretty much overkill. In the vacuum of space, there are few things to diffuse the plasma bolt, meaning that instead of a few atoms, it’s usually the whole impact area - energy nukes anyone?