The Mysteron rifle is a directed-energy weapon used primarily to destroy Mysteron likenesses of Earthmen. However, it can be just as deadly to normal Earthmen.
How the rifle's base principle was discoveredEdit
After the Mysterons's likeness of Dr. Theodore Magnus attempted unsuccessfully to assassinate General J. F. Tiempo in "Operation Time," he fled into one of the Cloudbase electrical rooms. There, a tipped-over ladder caused him to fall against live high-voltage electrical circuits, and he was destroyed.
How the rifle worksEdit
The rifle is described in the instalment "Spectrum Strikes Back" as firing a high-voltage electric current, but that is not strictly correct. What it actually fires is a high-intensity electromagnetic radiation called Cherenkov radiation.
Cherenkov radiation, a wavelength of electromagnetic radiation which is highly poisonous to normal Earthmen as well as to Mysteron likenesses, visible as the bright blue flash observed when a beam of electrons is accelerated to high velocities. When it is fired at a Mysteron likeness from the Mysteron rifle, it bombards the cellular structure of the target with dangerously high numbers of electrons--too many for the cellular structure of the likeness's cellular structure, or that of a normal Earthman for that matter, to withstand. Apparently, this causes a paradoxical reaction in the retro-metabolic abilities of Mysteron likenesses of Earthmen--one that apparently causes the arrest, rather than the acceleration, of cellular division, as occurs in nuclear radiation poisoning in normal Earthmen. When it is fired at a normal Earthman from the rifle, it simply causes the radiation poisoning without the paradoxical reaction.
The power source of the rifle is too low in capacity for it to have a greater effective range than approximately fifty yards, or roughly fifty metres, because in keeping with the Law of Inverse Squares, the output at longer distances is too weak to have that severe an effect. The Mysteron detector has a similar effective range.