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After playing the Halo 3 for as long as I have, there are many technical bits that have piqued my curiousity. While I have speculated about the energy weapons used by the Covenant, that curiousity soon turned to the nature, culture, and technology of the the Jiralhanae, better known as the Brutes. This article will be first in what I hope to be a small series of articles.
Type-25 Carbine-a.k.a the Spiker
This dual-wieldable firearm is familiar to everyone who has played Halo 3 and read Halo:Contact Harvest, and the most famous trait of this weapon are its curved blades and most importantly, the superheated spikes it fires.
In gameplay, however, its projectiles are shown being almost the length of the entire weapon. While this is largely an artifact of gameplay considerations, in other depictions, the same phenomenon is present. But what could cause this?
The Halo Bible entry on the Spiker and its attendant Grenade seemed to shed some light on this;
“The casing is constructed of an unusual porous metallic compound. Shrapnel from the Spike Grenade reaches a temperature of approximately 270 to 315ºC, around 530ºF, and retains that heat for upwards of seven seconds, by design.”
"The projectiles fired from this weapon seem to be made out of the same material as the Spike Grenade’s casing. Wounds caused by this weapon are horrifying.”
These two passages from their respective entries give a great deal of information. It shows that the ammunition used is based on the same material, which is a very porous metallic compound that heats up to certain temperature range, most likely quite readily.
Now what would this have to do with the Spiker's ammunition? Simple; the porous nature of the material would cause it to expand because of its air pockets, which would likely cause a heated projectile composed of this compound to become larger than it already was.
But this alone would not explain the size of the spikes. While certain ideas like self-forging projectiles and the like have been proposed, another possibility has presented itself; extrusion.
This is a process that involves forcing a material in a liquid state through a mold to shape it into a specific form, such as a rod or tube.
An explanation of the process can be found here:
Other aspects of the Spiker seem self evident, including some kind of mechanical operation inside the weapon, which is noted here:
“Every action requires exaggerated movement; cycling the bolt, seating a magazine, charging the chamber. Even squeezing the trigger takes quite a bit of effort. And it isn’t all that surprising considering the disparity in size of our two species.”
Other aspects of its design become evident in the number of lighted portions of the device, showing that is also electronically augmented by battery technology, in this case Covenant energy sources. This is notable in the "Halo:Believe" campaign video "Enemy Weapon":
As for the operation of the weapon, we know that it is a electronically-augmented firearm that is magazine fed and designed for automatic fire. Applying the ideas already outlined in the article, an idea to the operation of the device can be inferred.
As the trigger is pulled, the weapon's ammunition is placed into the firing chamber, ignited, and pushes the bolt back, which in turn sends the material forward through the weapon. The material is also superheated by the weapon's power source, becoming an expanded mass of hot metal, which is forced through an internal mold as it leaves the weapon.
This conspires to create the hot, elongated, 10+ inch-long spikes that soar through the air and stab into the environment, a target, or richochet, whose causes are self-evident.