I was always under the impression that the Romulan Plasma torpedoes were actual torpedoes that bled compressed plasma into a tight containment field after launch. So the casing itself would be a sort of nucleus, hence it's ability to change course.
Right. In essence the payload protects the guidance system. *heh*
In other plasma weapons, it seems they're dumb-fired bolts with a decaying (magnetic?) field. That's my explanation for how there cna be "flak" bursts in various sci-fi arenas -- the containing field has decayed enough that the plasma within explodes outward and dissipates, possibly imparting some of its energy on a near enough target.
But back to phasers...
-------------------- "That's what I like about these high school girls, I keep getting older, they stay the same age."
--David "Woody" Wooderson, Dazed and Confused
Registered: Feb 2001
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I think we're talking at cross-purposes here. Absolutely the pulse weapons that we know to have been identified as plasma-based are using a delivery system which encapsulates plasma in some sort of field. But what I think we're alltip-toeing around si the idea that the early-TOS weapons could also be plasma-based, but using a system whereby a thin stream of plasma is channelled along a stream of ionised gas, said ionised gas having been created by a laser? Perhaps such a "laser-channelled plasma pistol" might even be come to be known as a "laser pistol" for short?
Hey, I just remembered something: remember back in "Broken Bow," the final confrontation between Archer and, oh bugger, um, head Suliban guy in Future Guy's wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey chamber? One effect from that, where a future-echo of the phase pistol beam is seen, allowing the actual beam to be dodged? That led to all sorts of theorising about the nature of phase beams and initiator/carrier beams. Something like that, I'd search for a link but I'm off to bed.