|“||You are being shot into a ship as the payload of a BLEEPIN CRUISE MISSILE!!!!||”|
—Unknown Belter Sergeant
While there have been other groups who have used it for various reasons the Boarding Torpedo has always been seen as a terror weapon; partly because it was first used by the Boskonians during the height of their power during the war.
The Boarding Torpedo is a basic cylinder of varying size; from small enough to hold a single standing person to six seated troops. At one end is a hardened Penetrating tip; the other, a high thrust short duration Acceleration drive. An inertial dampening field to keep the passenger from turning to mush is, sadly, optional. It's pointed at the target and the acceleration drive triggered. The kinetic force generated is used to punch the torpedo through the hull of a ship or asteroid, allowing the carried 'human' payload to be deployed inside the target's defenses instead of fighting their way in. Once inside the torpedo either opens, or more often, is pretty much destroyed by the 'penetration event' leaving its cargo (assuming it survives) free to engage in whatever its mission is.
And that is where the Terror part of the weapon comes in. Standard Boskonian tactics were to literally shoot boarding troops into secondary boarding locations. Said troops were Beserkers or some other poor Thionite addict in early stages of withdrawal. This forced either the defenders to weaken their main defenses to deal with the new threat or leave highly-cybered insane thionite addicts rampaging their rear areas. (These troops were also considered highly expendable. After insertion, they would be expected to link back up with the main force for extraction. If they failed to arrive, it was no sweat off the mission commander's nose and they were simply left behind.)
They were also often shot off as a nasty 'parting gift' with the full expectation that their 'payload' would not be recovered, but simply create as much devastation as possible before their death by either thionite withdrawal or at the hands of the defenders.
|“|| I think the true horror of the Berserkers (or even just thionite doped troops) is the "This is what we do to you if you resist/fail/cheat me" aspect, rather than the fact that they're throwaway or expendable. That's what'll happen to you, or your family or your friends if you don't pay up your protection money, run from battle or just plain not do what you're told.
Terror, fear and horror are the Boskone's biggest weapons. And the 'comfy chair.'
Their first confirmed deployment by Boskonian forces happened at the same time the first Ariete class APCs were committed to combat by Great Justice. While this caused some initial speculation of a chicken and egg nature; it's now held that it's a simple coincidence due to parallel development tracks on both sides of the war.
While this device also seems well suited for Pirate boarding actions; the all or nothing aspect of having to capture the target or not having a way home does not appeal to the smart captain who considered a well-trained and motivated crew his most valuable asset. There are rumors about craft like this in pirate service, but its much more likely that any such craft are actually miniaturized Ariete class APCs.
To date, only one Boarding Torpedo has been recovered in an "unfired" state; making guesses as to what quirks the class as a whole might possess problematic. The occasional single-use, single-track MP3 player have been recovered from torpedo wreckage, these inevitably seem to reference "Hell" in some way. The Targeting systems also seem to have an inordinate love of Portholes, Skylights, or other large glass expanses.
- Purists insist the only real way to penetrate a target's defenses is through a large plate-glass window... but, as with so many other things in Fenspace, the concept has drifted away from the source fandom.