US Special Ops Wants Paralysis Device

U.S. Special Operations and Command (SOCOM) is looking for new weapons in their most recent BAA for Advancement of Technologies in Equipment for Use by Special Operations Forces.

Check out this request for a device that paralyzes bad guys:

"2.7.3.4. Temporary immobilizing/paralyzing effects on people."

Frankly, this is a vague, poorly worded request.

Fortunately, sf writers have come up with terrific descriptions of paralysis devices.

Like the paralysis ray from Arthur K. Barnes' 1938 story Satellite Five:

"I have invented a weapon, Miss Carlyle, that will render the monster on Satellite Five helpless!" he proclaimed dramatically. "A paralysis ray!" Gerry was dubious. She had seen abortive attempts at paralysis rays before.

"What's it's principle?" she asked.

"The transmission of a nerve impulse along the nerve fiber is provided by local electrical currents within the fiber itself... Passage over the junction point between cells is effected by a chemical transmitter, acetylcholine...

Lunde now exposed the interior of the leaden colored box... The interior showed a bewildering array of tubes and coils, all in miniature... The lens was shutterlike, similar to a camera lens...

"This, in effect," went on Professor Lunde in lecture style, "produces a neutron stream... And the penetrating neutron blast destroys the acetylcholine by adding to its atomic structure, thus making it so extremely unstable that it breaks itself up at once."
(Read more about paralysis ray)

Don't forget about the paralysis bomb from Robert Heinlein's 1940 novella If This Goes On...:

Twenty-five feet away the guard and the doorway. He was supposed to be one of us but I took no chances. I slipped a bomb from my belt, set it by touch to minimum intensity, pulled the primer and counted off five seconds to allow for point blank range. Then I threw it and ducked back into the jog to protect myself from the rays.

I waited another five seconds and stuck my head around. The guard was slumped down on the floor...
(Read more about paralysis bomb)

I also like the para-beam from E.C Tubb's 1958 novel The Mechanical Monarch:

Curt skidded to a halt, staring wildly at the advancing figure of the metaman, and darted to one side.

Blue fire streamed through the air where he had stood a moment before. It swung, lifted and Curt felt his legs go numb and almost lifeless as the blue ray stabbed past him, missing him by a fraction.

...Again the blue ray sent coldness through him, slowing his reflexes and chilling his blood with the touch of paralysis and he sobbed with pain as he forced his sluggish muscles to carry his sagging weight...
(Read more about para-beam)

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