Saturday, July 5, 2014

The Guillotine Ray


The Guillotine Ray is designed for revolutionary self-defense. A fifth generation, artificially intelligent, Year Zero-class juridical weapon, the manta-ray shaped device is about the size of a frisbee. It gently hums and hovers, following its assigned companion: usually a Procurator, Red Guard, or another individual tasked with rooting out reactionaries and revisionists.

Because each Guillotine Ray is artificially intelligent, it is designed to respond to subtle cues from its comrade handler. At the proper signal, a Guillotine Ray's twin effector beams strike out, decapitating its counterrevolutionary target. Collateral damage is common, but most Guillotine Rays aren't particularly fastidious about this kind of excess. It inspires the masses and encourages revolutionary vigor.

Originally, the  Guillotine Rays were mass-produced with dark grey exteriors. However in these times, Guillotine Rays sport quite colorful designs, rather like the jeepneys of pre-Diasporic Earth. Many have also adopted a colorful nom de guerre, such as Enrage, Facilitator, Vehicle for Change, Razoress, Horse Eater, Danton, Gonzalo, Sparrow, or Sword of Justice.

A few Guillotine Rays have also gone wild type, pursuing their own radical political agendas.  These are often collectively known as The Steel Generals. They are always spoiling for a good fight.


Guillotine Ray
Banksian juridical drone (neutral)

  • High Concept: Year Zero-class juridical weapon 
  • Trouble: There's collateral damage in my wake 
  • Aspect: Root out reactionaries and revisionists
  • Aspect: "You're going to come out of this a head shorter"
  • Aspect: Liberty, equality, fraternity
  • Careful: +1
  • Clever: +2
  • Flashy: +3
  • Forceful: +2
  • Quick: +2
  • Sneaky: 0
  • AG Mobile - Guillotine Rays are small and thin, and use AG to hover. When they need to squeeze through a tight space, they can turn sideways, and hover on through. 
  • Decapitation Strike - Take +2 to make a Flashy Attack using twin effector beams.
  • Telekinesis - Guillotine Rays can use their Flashy Approach to Overcome an Obstacle by using a single effector beam to move a physical object.

Thanks to Rachel Kronick for inspiring the name and idea, and to the late Iain M. Banks for providing the hardware and software. The final execution is entirely my own responsibility.


  1. Good stuff. The comrade-handler bit could lead to a strange variation on the whole companion-creature thing. Are these things passed-down through the generations of a particular lineage, or is there some other way to ensure that they 'don't fall into the wrong hands'?

    1. "Who will guard the Guardians?"

      The Guillotine Rays tend to be impatient and mercurial. Many are wreckers, splitters, and factionalists, and consequently often turn on or break loose from their comrade-handlers.

      Much also depends a lot on the nature of the states to which the Guillotine Rays are attached. A Ray is more likely to form intergenerational bonds with a comrade-handler "family" in revolutionary states that have experienced significant bureaucratic deformation or even nepotistic forms of degeneration.