Quantum torpedoes: what are they? – A head canon

For polite and reasoned discussion of Star Wars and/or Star Trek.
Post Reply
Jedi Knight
Posts: 478
Joined: Mon Aug 31, 2015 8:28 pm

Quantum torpedoes: what are they? – A head canon

Post by 359 » Sun Dec 23, 2018 11:11 am

Quantum torpedoes have always been portrayed as 'Photon Torpedoes + 1,' but while we have a good understanding of the antimatter warhead of a photon torpedo there's not much information about quantums.

First referenced in DS9: "Defiant" we learn that the Defiant-class is equipped with these new torpedoes, which suggests an anti-Borg origin for the weapon—the Defiant was being developed to counter the Borg threat. Additionally we know they use a plasma warhead from DS9: "For the Uniform" which differentiates it from a Photon torpedo which uses an antimatter warhead. Memory Alpha has a comment that they leave an anti-matter residue which would seem to contradict that. However when reviewing ENT: "Regeneration," which they cite as the source, I suspect that's from the Borg Sphere's exploding warp core/anti-matter pods.

So quantum torpedoes are regarded as more powerful and more advanced than their photon counterpart, but why is that? My head-canon for this (not that it has any real bearing on anything) is that the plasma warhead is stored dry and instead siphons off plasma from the EPS system just before launch, the torpedo is then used to deliver this high-energy plasma to a target resulting in an explosion with possibly a higher energy density than could safely be transferred using anti-matter. Maybe this would also provide them the ability to vary the properties of the torpedo. This would allow them to overcome Borg adaptions more easily, like how phaser beams can change frequency. Additionally this would have the added safety benefit of not having packets of anti-matter lying around. However, this would also require more ships power to use as opposed to a Photon Torpedo, which just needs to be loaded and launched.

None of this is implied by canon, but I think it's a fun idea that differentiates the two weapons more than one's red and the other's blue.

Posts: 36
Joined: Wed Feb 10, 2016 7:51 am

Re: Quantum torpedoes: what are they? – A head canon

Post by Picard578 » Wed Dec 26, 2018 8:37 am


Quantum is apparently a "minimum unit of energy any physical entity (physical property) involved in an interaction". So my take would be that quantum torpedo somehow takes the energy output and varies it - by frequency or else - across the much wider spectrum than that of a normal photon torpedo. Note that this does not necessarily contradict your idea.

User avatar
Starship Captain
Posts: 1246
Joined: Mon Aug 31, 2015 8:28 pm
Location: Protoss Embassy to the Federation

Re: Quantum torpedoes: what are they? – A head canon

Post by Khas » Wed Dec 26, 2018 9:50 pm

Well, even though they're non-canon, the Star Trek technical manuals and the official Star Trek magazine state that quantum torpedoes weaponize zero-point energy, or more specifically, vacuum energy - the energy of space-time itself. Basically, the warhead of a quantum torpedo starts twisting a bubble of space-time inside it into an unstable 11-dimensional structure, and when space-time in the warhead reverts back to normal, it does so so quickly and so violently, that it creates a burst of high-energy radiation and exotic particles with a yield several times that of the photon torpedo.

Posts: 13
Joined: Fri Aug 16, 2019 5:16 am

Re: Quantum torpedoes: what are they? – A head canon

Post by WhiteLion » Thu Aug 22, 2019 3:32 pm

I also always based on this description, even on wikia the same quote is given:

"The quantum warhead relies on rapid energy extraction from zero-point vacuum. This is established from an 11-dimensional space-time membrane, twisted into a Genus-1 topology string, housed inside the ultraclean vacuum of a 1.38 meter-long teardrop shaped The zero-point field reaction chamber: The membrane detonation of a photon torpedo warhead, enriched with fluorponic vapor, inside the torpedo powers a continuum distortion emitter. to high-explosive energy release. "

It is truly fascinating as a concept, in fact the only series in which I found the concept of Punto Zero as an energy source or as a weapon was Stargate.

Post Reply