Basic Weaponry

Science Fiction has a Fine Old Tradition (or is that a cliché?) that when Our Hero is confronted with an Unstoppable Opponent, he pops into The Lab and whips up a Doomsday Weapon that will Turn the Tide. So, in the finest tradition of E.E. "Doc" Smith and Wesley Crusher…

"Excuse me?"

"Hello, Joy. What can I do for you?"

"I'm sorry. This unit must register another non-standard weapon."

"Like your staff?"

"This one is much more complex."

"A gun? May I see it?"

"Of course."

"What does it do?"

"This unit is required to protect the ship from young horta. Due to the horta's acid coated rock digesting outer skin layer, phaser fire and melee combat weapons are ineffective. However, I have been taught that all strengths may be a weakness. A skin coating designed to discharge acid would react poorly to a base."


"In chemistry, a 'base' is the opposite of an acid. Acids and bases react strongly with each other to form a salt."

"So this is a basic weapon."

"Affirmative. The weapon contains NaH3OC dissolved in H2O. Pressure on the compression cylinder forces the acid neutralizing fluid out the nozzle."

"H2O is just water. What is NaH3OC?"

"LCARS refers to it as 'baking soda'. I do not know why it is called that."

"Hmmm… And you really hope to stop horta with this thing?"

"I do not think it will truly hurt them. But to an acidic creature, a base must 'taste' bad. This would be a negative reinforcement. It is intended less to hurt an adult horta than to spank a young child. It should make them desire to go a different way."

"Joy. You need not use a non-standard weapon to do this."


"Check out the replicator index under children's toys. Look under 'squirt guns'."