This document describes progress to date in establishing a defensive network capable of repelling wide-scale incursions by reconfiguring the national closed-circuit television surveillance network as a software-controlled look-to-kill multiheaded basilisk. To prevent accidental premature deployment or deliberate exploitation, the SCORPION STARE software is not actually loaded into the camera firmware. Instead, reprogrammable FPGA chips are integrated into all cameras and can be loaded with SCORPION STARE by authorised MAGINOT BLUE STARS users whenever necessary.
One of the weapons Her Majesty’s Government is developing to deal with the threat is the SCORPION STARE network. Two or more observing viewpoints—cameras—feeding the right kind of hardware/software network can, shall we say, impose their own viewpoint on whatever they’re looking at. In the case of SCORPION STARE, about ten percent of the carbon nuclei in the target are randomly transformed into silicon nuclei as if by magic. Messy pyrotechnics ensue: gamma radiation, short-lived muons, some really pretty high-energy chemistry, and lots of heat. We worked out how to do it by reverse-engineering basilisks and medusae—animals and unfortunate people suffering from a peculiar, and very rare, brain tumor. Now we’ve got defensive camera-emplacements on every high street, networked and ready to be controlled centrally when the balloon goes up. Street cleaning by CCTV-controlled flame thrower.
The technology itself relies on a trick of quantum observation that temporarily replaces the carbon atoms of the target with that of silicon. This causes an instantanieous chemical reaction, as carbon dioxide for example now becomes silicon dioxide, thus permanently altering the chemical make up of the entire object.
First appearence: The Concrete Jungle (novella).
- "Right now, it’s running the camera firmware,” Pinky says. “Slide the lens cover down to switch it on. Point, shoot, it’s a camera.” I slide the lens cover down. As expected, the display back lights up. There’s a honking great gunsight frame superimposed over it. I turn it off hastily.
- “Load the basilisk firmware and you’ll see a gunsight. Point and shoot and instead of taking a snap, it sends a bang.”
- “You’ve been practicing on the seagulls,” I accuse. “In Milton Keynes.”
- “They’re vermin, Bob. They’ve been driven inland by over-fishing and now they’re spreading disease, attacking waste collections, keeping people awake in the small hours, and carrying away stray cats and small dogs. Next thing you know they’ll be cloning credit cards and planning bank robberies.”
- “Yes, but…” I see no point in arguing; it’s not as if I like seagulls.
- “It’s got an effective range of about a hundred meters, and enough juice to fire eighty times on a single battery charge,” Pinky adds. “It looks innocuous, which is more than you can say for a Glock; you can carry it on an airliner or through a security checkpoint, right?”"
"Basilisk guns are a nasty little spin-off of research into medusae, and our happy fun way of dealing with other universes. It's an observer-mediate quantum affect that applies a rather odd probability field to whatever it focusses on. About one carbon-12 or carbon-13 nucleus in a hundred, in the target, is spontaneously swapped for a silicon-28 or silicon-29 nucleus...The effect is rather dramatic. Lots of bonds break, lots of energy comes spewing out. Protein molecules go twang, nucleotide chains snap, everything gets rather hot. To a naive bystander, the target turns to stone - or rather, to red-hot, carbon-riddled cinderblock" - The Rhesus Chart pg 20