Since the dawn of space combat, human armament consisted of a mix of direct fire energy weapons and explosive warheads. As they reached out to explore the galaxy at large, these systems remained effective and serviceable. That is: until they met the Wun’Tux.
Wun’Tux durillium armour plating was capable of shrugging off energy weapon damage; this rendered such weaponry almost useless. Warheads were the only armament to have an effect and there are only so many warheads one ship can carry. This effectively left humans fighting with one hand tied behind their backs. Government R&D departments began to study the behaviour of this armour plate to try and find some solution. The American military saw fit to share the data with a slew of private military corporations.
Inspired by long barrelled anti-material rifles of old, the Blackmane engineers designed something in the mould of a rail gun. Tempered slugs of Tungsten alloy would be accelerated down a long barrel towards a target at incredible velocity. In theory, this slug could breach the thick armour plates and damage the ship beneath. Tests on derelict Wun’Tux Clanships demonstrated promising results.
Unfortunately, Blackmane’s prototype was so unwieldy it had to be mounted spinally; giving no ability to target independent of the ship’s direction. The inability to mount it on a turret was a huge disadvantage – Blackmane were close to throwing in the towel. It was sheer chance the project wasn’t terminated at this point. One of the Royal Naval Lieutenants on the review board recalled watching giant cranes building the orbiting defences at Europa.
These cranes used a special gyroscopic stabiliser to accurately position heavy liftarms; objects roughly the size of the prototype cannon. It took one call (along with a extortionate licensing fee) to hijack the patent on these cranes and integrate them.
And so the Linear Cannon was born.
The first working versions debuted at the close of the Second Age; Warships were hastily retrofitted with turreted Linear Cannons and pressed back into service. These ships found the weapons astoundingly accurate at medium ranges. The armour penetration worked as advertised, giving the humans an equalising edge in the subsequent battles. Skilled gunners soon learnt particular angles and weak spots and within a matter of weeks Wun’Tux had become more wary to engage humans in pitched battles.
First contact with the war-like Wun’Tux was a rude awakening for human forces who had lived in near-peace for too long. More potent and advanced weapons were put into development and by the Third Age the Linear Cannon was less revolutionary and more ordinary, still respected for it’s accuracy and armour piercing abilities.