RED SCYTHE: The Maybe-There Soviet Laser




Registered Phenomena Code: 647

Object Class: Gamma-Orange

Hazard Types: Ballistic, Tychokinetic, Mechanical

Containment Protocols: As the nature of RPC-647 is unknown, no Containment Protocols have yet been devised. Attempts are being made to exploit, nullify or counteract the informational anomaly associated with RPC-647. Despite no hard evidence to support it, ASIACOM currently operates under the assumption that RPC-647 does indeed exist.

Past attempts to bypass RPC-647 have been met with failure: direct and indirect means of investigation only manage to intensify the anomaly, and anomalous means return inconclusive results. Agents embedded on PCAAO operations have found that RPC-647 affects them equally, with numerous different locations believing they are in possession of the anomaly.1

Due to its primary anomalous property, RPC-647 functionally proves no risk to secrecy. It is likely any external attempt to obtain RPC-647 or learn of its properties would be unsuccessful. The United States Government remains under the belief that RPC-647 does not exist.

ACI ASIACOM is currently investigating potential locations for RPC-647: Operation CLASPER has been devised to capture the anomaly.

Authority: ASIACOM PD Reg. Director [REDACTED]
Current Focus: RPC-647, Location Variable: Chinese Territories

Description: RPC-647 refers to a potential anomalous weapon constructed either by an unknown Soviet Union military organization2 or singular individual. RPC-647 is likely to be a directed energy weapon, either a particle beam design or a primitive example of an electrolaser, and constructed sometime in between 1972 and 1980. The weapon is commonly associated with an operator going by the name of Boris. L. Kananenko, believed to be an ex-KGB weapons engineer.


Purported image of RPC-647 test. 04/06/1985

Although the weapons system itself may possess destructive anomalous properties, such details remain unable to be confirmed or denied. All evidence that could support its existence, while ample enough in quantity that it cannot be ignored, is highly ambiguous and at times contradictory.

While the existence of functional Soviet-constructed laser weapons is commonly accepted—anti-missile and anti-aircraft systems are known to have been tested at the Sary Shagan anti-ballistic missile testing range with varying success—the scale of their effectiveness is believed to have at some point been much greater than what public knowledge would suggest.

At least one classified CIA report is known to describe the existence of a third "much larger, […] mobile" laser weapon designed by one "Boris Kananenko", whose power would "likely dwarf" the performance of the aforementioned systems, being capable of making aircraft explode mid-flight and potentially piercing concrete.

As the report in question is not in possession of the Authority, its exact details are unknown. Gen. Lew Allen, Chief of Staff of the US Air Force until 1982, is known to have expressed frustration at the report, as registered in the following DoD session recording:

I would not buy this garbage if it came with a free car. The fear-mongering involved in this single piece of paper… With not a single indication that the Reds ever even managed to down a single fighter with their science-fiction blaster? This is truly an unacceptable state for a formal intelligence report.

I'm not going to stand for another gap3 panic. I'm afraid you'll not only have to review your informant positions for new officers, but that of the Air Force Chief of Staff.

Gen. Lew Allen continued to resist the growing notion of the "laser gap" within the Department of Defense, repeatedly expressing anger at the ambiguity of the report and "fear-mongering" of other Chiefs of Staff. This could have potentially contributed to Allen's resignation in 1982.

Despite Allen's efforts, the "laser gap" was perpetuated in the DoD until the end of the Cold War approached, when a US delegation visited the Sary Shagan facility and failed to find the third "much larger" laser. Although there was extensive evidence of materials from this facility being transported out before the arrival of the US delegation, the DoD did not pursue further investigation, claiming that the Soviet lasers were "1,000 times less powerful than those of the Mid-Infrared Chemical Laser (MIRACL)" developed at White Sands. The accuracy of this figure remains disputed.

Between 1995 and 2006, Authority intelligence reports mirroring the claims of the aforementioned CIA report would spark an Authority Central Intelligence investigation campaign directed to the People's Committee for the Acquisition of Anomalous Objects (PCAAO), a Chinese Agency of Interest. Copious amounts of ambiguous and contradictory claims would result from this operation, among them;

  • That an unknown Soviet-designed weapon had been acquired by the PCAAO in 1992, but found that it was nonfunctional and stored it in a Tibetan stockpile
  • That a laser weapon of similar capabilities to what was described in the CIA report was undergoing testing in a facility near Moyunxiang, China since at least 1991
  • That a laser weapon of similar capabilities had already been deployed close to Mischief Reef in the South China Sea, used at least once to sink a Vietnamese ship, and remained on-location since 1994
  • That an undetected satellite launch in 1993 had put a cloaked laser weapon of similar capabilities in orbit around the Earth
  • That one "Boris Kananenko" had traveled from the Russian Federation to Beijing in 1997 to help with the design of laser weapon prototypes and been received by a high officer of the People's Republic of China

Information referring to these claims came largely in form of anonymous testimonies, communication logs and rumours. Photographic evidence was scarce and potentially ambiguous; for instance, an alleged photograph of Kananenko together with a Chinese official was found to be merely a Russian tourist and a local CCP delegate once acquired from the relevant informant.

ACI officers, being faced with what appeared to be a misinformation campaign, made official requests to directly investigate potential locations of the weapon, which were fervently denied by PCAAO liaisons. Covert attempts to do so were met with failure. Convoy interventions would fail to inspect certain vehicles for varying reasons, operatives would be misdirected and encounter incorrect facilities, and potential storage locations could not be reached. It was around this time (1999 — 2001) that RPC-647's nick-name "Red Scythe" arose among Authority personnel from an infamously ambiguous communications log between PCAAO officials.

It is highly likely the name "Boris Kananenko" is a pseudonym or fake identity, as no individual by that name has ever identified in the Soviet weapons industry. Rarely characterized, no known references to Kananenko are independent of RPC-647; he has only been referred to as the designer and operator of RPC-647.

A 2004 revision of these operations discovered a series of common trends associated with the weapon that resulted in it being designated an RPC;

  • All attempts to investigate it had been met with abnormally high amounts of information for similarly secretive projects
  • Information supporting the existence of the weapon invariably constructed multiple potential and mutually exclusive lines of inquiry
  • Ambiguous information could always support only one potential line of inquiry, if interpreted to support the existence of RPC-647
  • Information denying the existence of the weapon invariably relied on logical assumptions or cited lack of solid evidence to support the notion that it existed
  • The notion of a Soviet energy weapon designed by Boris Kananenko would invariably be found in an ambiguous or affirmative context in every line of inquiry

This led ACI operatives to conclude that the weapon, whether it existed or not, was affected by an informational anomaly that would generate obfuscating information around any attempt to investigate it. Further requests to test the exact characteristics of this anomaly were denied by ASIACOM Regional Command until 2005, when a potential activation of RPC-647 was reported.

Known characteristics of the activation event were expectedly ambiguous, with multiple locations and characteristics ranging from an orbital assault that had penetrated the Earth's crust, to causing a Vietnamese ship to combust, to having accidentally destroyed a weapons testing warehouse. While the most worrying possibilities were thought to be disparate, the inability to discern the effects of RPC-647 were considered a cause for concern, prompting the issuing of an Outstanding Capture Order and the development of a capture plan to be executed in late 2006.

The details of this plan are restricted to LV4 Clearance.

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