The Jelly Bean Launcher (An investigation into polarion-antiproton burst launchers)
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Vol. 330, No. 3, Stardate 239608
The 'Jelly Bean' Launcher (An investigation into polarion-antiproton burst launchers)
On Stardate 239608.06, the USS Astraeus (NCC 70652, Galaxy Class), while on mission duties, encountered what was later found to be a Son'a run prison camp in system AR-2301. The installation used what is sometimes referred to as 'jelly bean launchers'. These launchers, which are a set of emitters that create a glowing bean like shape out of anti-proton and polarion emitters set to specific phasers, are often used to create a saturated area defense against attacking small ships. However, these were significantly uptuned versions of what had originally been encountered in the 2370's during the Dominion War, which were used as anti-fighter weaponry.
Polarion and Anti-Proton interactions have been studied before, but were passed over by the Advanced Weapon Design Bureau and Starfleet Research and Development due to their low potential vs conventional phaser beams. (It is of note that disruptors, however, were considered until the fact that shipboard phaser weaponry could be tuned to lower the destructiveness and used for other means, and the primary consideration for most ship classes is versatility.)
The first encountered use of these weaponry was during an attack on a ketracel-white facility in 237201.24 by the USS Swiftsure. They discovered the primary advantage when highly tuned - it would saturate shields, causing rapidly overloaded shields on smaller craft and ships and destroying them, and larger ships were often severely strained dealing with this attack.
Later, the Starfleet Corps of Engineers came up with a partial mitigation, and as the Dominion War progressed, it became an anti fighter and shuttlecraft weapon, used as a defensive measure.
Analysis of a captured weapon emplacement after the war revealed how it worked. The polarions are excited and made to resonate at a specific frequency, and at a specific wavelength. This requires several specifically built generators to control the power so that it doesn't generate at unsuitable wavelengths. Pairing this with antiprotons requirs more of the specialized generators. The distinctive jelly bean shape is given by the emitter geometry and the specific frequency given off by the combination of the polarion frequency and the Pathic-Kerlliant upsilion interaction. This also drives the visible color, which varies in proportion to the wavelength.
When the energy discharge contacts a shield, the 'bean' shatters and releases increased amounts of stage five upsilion radiation, known for it's ability to disrupt energy fields. (It is of note, that stage five upsilion radiation is considerably more hazardous to unshielded humanoids, but cannot penetrate most energy-based shields) In case of hitting a solid object, it releases all of it's energy at once, and only releases stage four upsilion radiation, which is less hazardous to unshielded humanoids than stage five, but still hazardous enough that immediate medical treatement is recommended. 
Limitations of First Observed Models
The frequency of early models was in the Petahertz range, and the wavelength correspondingly in hectometers. This was driven by the inverse relationship - to keep the 'beans' stable for longer and with more power, the frequency needs to be driven into lower bands. The higher the frequency, the higher the wavelength, and the less power each bean had to impact. It also limited the color shifting, which is a more deadly form of the usually benign Notca-Berhns subspace radiation interaction seen in some nebulae. This effectively meant that larger ships or any ship with reenforced shielding was largely immune to the effects.
Innovations in 2396
Analysis of data recovered from the Watson and USS Astraeus proves that newer Son'a installations took advantage of increases in micronization of energy technology to shift the weapon into the hectoherz range. This meant that it had the capability to throw out meter jelly beans with much more punching power, and faster. Also, the launchers were now capable of more area-saturation, making them more effective battlefield control weaponry. (As well as capable of more glowing and diverse looking jelly beans). Cross comparison with data gathered by other ships in the fleet revealed that it was possible to keep shrinking it, perhaps making it a true threat to all but Class 18+ Shields, reserved for the most fortified of positions. The most frightening thing was discovered by data passed by the Cardassian Union to the Federation during negotiations.
Joint Unidimensional Manifold Pressure Anti-proton/Polarion Torpedo
Launchers on the Son'a base revealed physical launchers with torpedos clearly meant to create the effect, but thankfully disabled by the Astraeus before they could fire. Test firing of one of the torpedo reveals that that operation is intended to be a three part system
1. The torpedo launches until it reaches at least a half million km from the launcher.
2. The torpedo, taking advantage of a lesser known polarion-tetryon-antiproton-subspace superposition, detonates. It should be noted that even this detonation is hazardous to objects within a quarter of a million kilometers of this detonation, as it releases a massive amount of type four, five and three types of Upsilion radiation.
3. The resulting 'bean' is extremely more high charged (frequencies in the hertz range, and the size is the smallest allowable range of 1.2 meters), and able to more effectively damage shields and even the armor below it. In the testing example, it destroyed the testing platform, which had been armored up to the current stats of a Soverign-class starship.
This results in the bean seeming to 'jump' due to a subspace interaction that may increase velocity at seemingly random times.
The Pathic-Kerlliant Upsilion detonation effect requires time to work - detonating the pairs further away from the ship will aid in defensive measures by lessening the amount of energy that the detonation has to work with. Theoretically, saturating the area with a sufficiently strong harmonic subspace field should prevent formation, but a lack of weaponry to test on has prevented the SCE from confirming this. Another measure may simply be to scatter baryonic matter in it's path to force premature detonation.
The primary mitigation during the Dominion War took advantage of their larger size, and simply disrupted their forming with phaser beams whenever practical. This tactic will be of less and less effectiveness as the frequency shifts to smaller wavelengths. (Although, advancements in phaser technology may allow this to keep pace with the advancement in technology. Such a supposition is, of course, untestable at this time.)
The Polarion-Antiproton launchers represent a deadly threat to Starfleet ships, and it is very likely that they will only get more deadly. Crew who encounter this weapon should not treat it lightly.