Lightsabers


To the masses of the Galactic Republic, “Galactic” Empire, New Republic and the Corporate Sector Authority, the lightsaber is a very curious weapon, while back in the United Federation of Planets, it would be nothing more than a curiosity. 

To break it down plainly and simply, it is nothing more than yet another of the technologically stagnant laser weapons that seem to permeate the entirety of the so-called “Star Wars galaxy”.

Essentially a blade of pure energy, the lightsaber is capable of cutting through almost anything -- except another lightsaber blade.  These elegant and very effective weapons have been masterfully wielded by Jedi Knights for thousands of years.

Part of Jedi Knight training includes the task of building a personal lightsaber.  Although each lightsaber is unique, the weapon’s basic design remains the same.  The handle, 24 to 30 centimeters long, holds a power call as well as 1 or more crystals -- seldom more than 3.  The crystals focus the energy released by the power cell into a tight, bladelike beam.  The blade’s color depends on the nature of the jewel it springs from. 

When a single jewel is placed in the lightsaber’s handle, the blade length is fixed.  But if more than 1 crystal is placed in the handle, the blade’s length can be changed.  By rotating a knob, the Jedi can adjust the focusing crystal activator, which changes the refraction pattern between the gems, resulting in a shorter or longer blade.

-Star Wars Episode 1:  “The Phantom Menace” Scrapbook, the Ultimate Insider’s Guide to the Movie, “Jedi Weapons”, pg. 12. Written by Ryder Windham.

A lightsaber’s handgrip is approximately 24 to 30 centimeters long and features a mirrorlike concave metal disk called a blade emitter on one end.  Controls include an activation lever, a recharge socket, diagnostic readouts, and in some cases blade length and intensity controls.  Opening the small access panel reveals a tiny but very sophisticated power cell as well as at least 1 -- and sometimes several -- multifaceted crystals or jewels.

The lightsaber’s jewels focus the power cell’s energy charge into a tight parallel beam that emerges from the blade emitter as a vibrant blade of pure energy.  The blade is a closed energy loop.  It’s amplitude determines when the energy beam arcs back to the negatively charged high-energy flux aperture that rings the outer edge of the lightsaber’s concave disk.  The power call can last for years because it is fed by the energy that enters the flux aperture; the weapon loses energy only when the blade makes contact with another object.

The lightsaber’s deadly energy blade can cut through almost any substance.  Because the blade itself has no weight and emits no heat, a novice may easily miscalculate it’s path.  A Jedi Knight undertakes years of study to master the weapon, developing the skill that allows him or her to block incoming blaster bolts or fend off as many as a dozen attackers.

Most lightsabers have customized features such as pressure-sensitive activation levers (so that the blade disappears as soon as the saber is released) and multiple crystals that enable the user to alter the amplitude and length of the blade. 

-The Essential Guide to Weapons & Technology, Lightsaber, pg.:  56.  Written by Bill Smith.

Section 31 has made contact with various Jedi, including reigning master of the so-called “New Jedi Order” Luke Skywalker.  Through him, and the individuals connected to him, we were able to examine many Jedi artifacts, including lightsabers.  They are very simple, and easily back-engineered.  It normally takes a Jedi a good while to construct one; sometimes several days.  Imagine the surprise on Jedi Master Skywalker’s face when my engineer friend broke out a tricorder and replicator, designed and created the parts, then assembled them in less than an hour.  Also imagine the surprise when it was even more powerful than one wielded by a Jedi Master, and, thanks to UFP technology, much more flexible and sophisticated.  After breaking it down for the Jedi, none of them could make heads nor tails of the Section 31 technology lightsaber.  My engineer friend, Griffith, just smiled and kept his mouth shut.  Naturally, he wouldn’t let them have any of the technology, and we already know that if they could get their hands on one, it would take them longer than they’d probably live to back-engineer it.

Essentially a blade of pure energy, the lightsaber is capable of cutting through almost anything -- except another lightsaber blade.

-Star Wars Episode 1:  “The Phantom Menace” Scrapbook, the Ultimate Insider’s Guide to the Movie, “Jedi Weapons”, pg. 12. Written by Ryder Windham.

The lightsaber’s jewels focus the power cell’s energy charge into a tight parallel beam that emerges from the blade emitter as a vibrant blade of pure energy.           

-The Essential Guide to Weapons & Technology, Lightsaber, pg.:  56.  Written by Bill Smith.

Generally, lightsaber descriptions are all consistent.  According to a copy of the that Section 31 operatives downloaded from public sources Galactic Encyclopedia:

When a Jedi Lightsaber is activated, a charge of pure energy flows from a power cell through a series of jewels that focus the energy into a tight parallel beam.  The beam passes through a lens at the center of the handle, extends into space, and then arcs back along itself to a high-energy flux aperture mounted in the saber’s handguard.  The tightly arcing beam forms a blade of amazing strength.  The length of the beam is directly proportional to it’s energy used.

Each saber beam has a unique frequency which determines the “feel” of the blade and how it handles when cutting or when contacting another blade.  The frequency also determines the blade’s color and sound.  The oldest sabers use jewels formed by natural processes.  But the Jedi can forge synthetic jewels with a small furnace, a few basic elements…and the power of the Force.

-Star Wars:  “Dark Empire”, issue 4 of 6.  By Tom Veitch and Cam Kennedy.  Published by Dark Horse Comics.

Further sources of information state:

The lightsaber has continued to evolve, at least until the time of the Empire.  The most sophisticated weapons use miniature molecular power cells and superconducting circuits.  The energy efficiency of the modern lightsaber is very close to 100%.

In most ancient times, when the lightsaber was invented, warriors did not possess the sophisticated technology of today.  The very earliest lightsabers were based on the discovery of natural crystals that spontaneously emit powerful bursts of light and energy at their resonant frequency.

It was the Jedi who discovered these crystals and learned to harness their power, using more common jeweled stones to direct the raw energy bursts into a coherent beam.  The crystals were found in only one place -- the Adega System.

-Star Wars:  “Dark Empire”, issue 4 of 6.  By Tom Veitch and Cam Kennedy.  Published by Dark Horse Comics.

So, from this, we have been told that the lightsaber, like the blaster pistols and rifles (and all other laser weaponry) is a frequency-locked weapon, and that by attuning personal shielding to it, you can completely eliminate it as a threat.  This weapon would be of very limited use against Borg drones.  There are other liabilities inherent in the design of the lightsaber, as well; such as their vulnerability to the naturally-occurring (though rare) element cortosis.  Whenever a lightsaber’s beam comes into contact with cortosis, even a small amount, it triggers a feedback through the beam, causing the weapon to instantly and automatically shut down.  Some have made shields out of this for use against Jedi, but many have required duplicators to do so, which means they need appropriate amounts of the element to form into the shield.  UFP replicators, once the molecular matrix was programmed in, did not need the raw material (cortosis) to create cortosis shielding (and even body armor).

Lightsabers aren’t, in truth, too much more powerful than a standard laser gun of “Galactic” Empire/New Republic/Corporate Sector Authority technology.  Anyone can use one, though it would be a little hazardous, considering they can’t really keep track of the beam by it’s heft, and there is usually pretty little resistance when cutting conventional materials.  However, in some people’s hands (most of their galaxy), when it comes to penetrating blast doors, it can’t be done.  A lightsaber just does not give off enough energy to penetrate that thick steel.  Unless a trained and powerful Jedi gets his hands on it.  Then, suddenly, the game is changed, and that door is penetrated, leaving rivers of slag in the blade’s wake.

How can this be?

The Adega stone does it.

After a brief examination, it was found that the Adega stone, and similar stones, are actually psychoactive crystals, resonating on the ‘frequency’ that the Force is operated on.  In general, a standard lightsaber is listed as being »66.66666667% the yield of a heavy blaster pistol.  As is discussed elsewhere in these documents, the BlasTech DH-17 has firepower roughly equivalent to »931 joules.  This would make a lightsaber’s base yield (in the hands of an untrained/non “Force-Sensitive” as they call them) »620.6666667 joules.  In the hands of a trained Force practitioner, they can become dramatically more powerful, easily gaining kilojoule-range yields.  When dealing with beings that can psychically/psionically attune to an Adega stone, the more energy then can channel into the stone and weapon, the higher the yield becomes.  (Section 31 and the United Federation of Planets Starfleet are certainly not inexperienced with paranormal powers and their examination.)  For instance, one capable of generating 100 kW would increase the yield »100 kJ, over and above the »620.6666667 joules. 

It is also known that an untrained wielder cannot deflect laser bolts.  This is not only due to the fact that they cannot think, move or see fast enough to make this a physical possibility, but due to the fact that a lightsaber is physically incapable of doing this feat in the hands of someone not learned in the paranormal skill of utilizing the energies wrought by the midi-chlorian bacteria (the “Force”).  Apparently, the same discipline that makes one capable of being able to accomplish these feats alters the physical properties of the lightsaber energy field, making it possible for the weapon to serve adequately in this function.  It might function in the same way, in which the Jedi wielder can enhance the amount of damage the lightsaber does through the channeling of personal energies through it.  This would also mean that there is a limit to how much of a laser bolt can be deflected, and this would vary with the Jedi.  One might be capable of deflecting a 40 kW blaster bolt, while another might not, and could face his limit at 17 kW.  In any event, it doesn’t work on all weapons, and is not thought to be capable of blocking phaser bolts; no Jedi known, not even Master Luke Skywalker has demonstrated enough power to stop high-energy phaser blasts.  Truthfully, I really doubt that they’d be safe for use in attempting to block a 10 MJ laser blast from an old NUN (New United Nations) Starfleet phase pistol; I certainly wouldn’t want to be the one holding the lightsaber.  In addition, due to the fact that a phaser can sustain it’s beam, it makes it significantly easier to cope with the problem of being blocked by a beam that’s usually not much more than 2.54 cm in thickness.  Plus, if all else fails, there’s wide angle settings that will easily bypass any lightsaber.  Some Jedi have the ability to absorb energy for various purposes; not even a Master Jedi can absorb a sustained phaser stun.

Apparently, the Adega stone is the best conductor for Force energies.  While others may come close, the Adega stone is superior in conductivity.  Artificial stones, made by combining elements in a furnace and then stimulating them with Force energies to activate psychoactive properties of the chosen chemicals, while useful, are not as longevous (they will not last as long as the Adega stones), and are incapable of channeling as much energy.  However, they are probably cheaper and more easily procured.  Also, when trying not to attract attention, a shipment of Adega stones is pretty much a red flag when dealing with enemies that know about Jedi matters and technologies.

The energy beam produced by the lightsaber is simple laser.  As the energy passes through the stones, a light is produced, and this light is contained within the reciprocation field that continues to regenerate the lightsaber’s energy.  Like conventional lasers, the lightsaber radiates virtually no energy, and the vast majority of what is lost is captured in the containment field.  Now, as aforementioned, the lightsaber gives off »620.6666667 joules.  The  containment field (“…the negatively charged high-energy flux aperture that rings the outer edge of the lightsaber’s concave disk.”), which is the effect caused by the negatively charged high energy flux aperture must have an energy value that is »620.6666667 joules, in order to exert enough of an influence on the laser and cause it to invert itself 180° back into the lightsaber.  So, it’s energy is probably proportionate to the amount of energy in the beam at all times in a properly functioning lightsaber.  This component, the flux aperture, is probably not a separately energized part, but is energized by the beam passing through it, itself.  This constant reciprocation keeps the device charged as much as possible.  However, upon making contact with another lightsaber, then the energy cost is, probably, »620.6666667 joules/unit of time of contact.  If slicing through a substance that requires 400 joules to cut, then there will be an energy cost of 400 joules, but nothing else.  Just being active does not cause the lightsaber to utilize a significant amount of energy, as the “…energy efficiency of the modern lightsaber is very close to 100%.  So, what energy is expended is almost completely reclaimed.  Very good engineering.  Possibly, though, when the blade comes into contact with cortosis, the substance transfers energy into the blade that is over and above what the closed system contains, and, in turn, energizes the flux aperture higher than the lightsaber beam, itself.  This may be the root cause of blade collapse.  There is no damage to the weapon, but the blade is eradicated, because the negative charge of the flux aperture overwhelms the charge of the blade, completely, ‘killing’ it.

Lightsaber strikes against living beings can be quite devastating; like being shot with a phaser on level 4.  The generated heat is intense within objects that the beam touches.  During the first meeting of Han Solo and Luke Skywalker, we had Section 31 operatives in the cantina, and they observed the lightsaber work of Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi, first hand.  (Note:  Obi-Wan Kenobi was never a Jedi Master, as he had never successfully trained a single candidate, between both Anakin and Luke Skywalker.)  Below is an excerpt from report 306of-X:

In between the start of his yell and the conclusion of the blink, the rodent-thing had been cleft cleanly in half down the middle, it’s two halves falling in opposite directions.  The giant multi-ocular creature still stood staring, dazed, at the old Human who was poised motionless before it, the shining lightsaber held over his head in a peculiar fashion.  The creature’s chrome pistol fired once, blowing a hole in the door.  Then the torso peeled away as neatly as  had the body of the rodent, it’s two cauterized sections falling in opposite directions to lie motionless on the cool stone.

-Star Wars:  the Star Wars Trilogy, “Star Wars:  A New Hope”, pg.:  81.  By George Lucas.

Most eyewitness accounts did not mention the man that got cut in half; only the amputee.  For a body to be cauterized on that scale (considering it was cut completely in two) would definitely require a good amount of thermal energy.  Now, if that creature contained a circulator system and volume of blood/fluids that were close to what a Human has in him, that’s a lot of fluid that didn’t spill.  Even with the amputated arm, it clearly didn’t bleed very much.  In fact, while on the floor, it wasn’t even draining the blood that was still within the arm’s own circulatory system.  Just a little bit on the floor was evident.  The late Grand Admiral Thrawn, for his entire stint as commanding officer of Chimera, had a Section 31 operative in his midst, sometimes even in the same room with him during planning, thanks to an isolation suit.  During the incident in which Luke Skywalker had stolen on board, along with his future wife Mara Jade, the operative was present when the bodies of Imperial troops had been found.  Two of them died by Luke’s lightsaber, and the Grand Admiral quickly identified this.

“Admiral,” the stormtrooper commander interrupted.  “Report from search team 207, on deck 98 nexus 326-KK.”

Pellaeon’s fingers automatically started for his keyboard; came up short as he remembered there was no computer mapping available to pinpoint the location for him.

“They’ve found team 102, all dead,” the commander continued.  “Two were killed by blaster fire; the other two…”  He hesitated.  “There seems to be some confusion about the other two.”

“No confusion, commander,” Thrawn put in, his voice suddenly deadly.  “Instruct them to look for near-microscopic cuts across the bodies with partial cauterization.”

Pellaeon stared at him.  There was a cold fire in the Grand Admiral’s eyes that hadn’t been there before.  “Partial cauterization?” he repeated stupidly.

“And them inform them,” Thrawn continued.  “that one of the intruders is the Jedi Luke Skywalker.”

-Star Wars:  “Dark Force Rising”, Chapter 23, pg.:  336.  Written by Timothy Zahn.

Let us also take into account the evidence left behind when Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn attempted to cut through the blast doors of a Trade Federation battleship.  The blade cut through the door through the use of intense heat, creating brightly glowing red-orange slag in it’s wake.  In fact, as they closed additional doors, molten metal fell away to the floor when it closed upon the blade.

All-in-all, while a clever weapon, even if a Section 31 agent finds himself confronted by someone wielding one, a type 1 phaser is more than enough to take care of the attacker; the wide angle beam cannot be deflected (and it is quite possible that the not even the physics of the narrow particle beam can be deflected by the lightsaber), and the Force-practitioner is not able to absorb enough of even a low level stun blast to prevent himself from being rendered unconscious or killed.  The sustainable nature of the phasers make them more than up to the tack.  In any event, though a simple weapon by UFP technological standards, it is still a very clever one, and very useful.  Unfortunately, it cannot be safely wielded by anyone that is not somehow paranormally aware of the presence and real-time location of the energy blade.


Back to the Section 31 index