by Amy Luther
The basic difficulty in dealing with sharks is that they have a high pain threshold and a relatively small brain, which precludes the delivery of a lethal blow. Standard boomsticks are effective weapons, but the noise produced by it can attract sharks within hearing distance, and the concussion may well injure the user. Huge quantities of blood result from the use of the explosive, attracting still more sharks, and the shark itself may not immediately die. In that brief span of seconds, a wounded shark can very easily kill or horrendously mutilate a diver. For that reason, most divers would prefer to arm themselves with weapons that immediately kill or incapacitate a shark on contact.
Shark Billy (20eb) MEL 0 N C 1D6+1 NA NA ST 1-2m
The oldest anti-shark device, the shark billy is a 3 to 4 ft-long wooden club, with a short spike driven through one end. It is counterweighted to facilitate underwater use and is used to fend off or stab a shark, preferably on the nose.
Sea Lance (150eb) MEL 0 N C 2D6+2 (AP) NA NA ST 1-2m
A corrosion-resistant metal spear ranging from 1 to 2 meters in length, the sea lance is a simple but deadly device when outfitted with the right type of tip (see below). As a weapon in its own right, the lance can be tipped with a multitude of blades for underwater defense. Standard spear blade does damage as above; other blades (leaf, etc.) may do more (or less), GM's call. Monoblades are available for 2x normal cost. Availaibilty: Common.
Antishark Dart (20eb/cartridge)"What happened to the shark when struck by the dart was hard to believe. Carbon dioxide was rushed under pressure into the body cavity ... This inflated it ... like an automobile inner tube, making it extremely buoyant. And, like an inner tube, it ... rose to the surface, where it died almost instantly.""It's better to be on top of the shark, if it's at all possible, and of course his stomach is instantly blown out of his mouth. You can feel the concussion, but there's no sound that you can detect."-- Anonymous divers
These consist of a CO2 cartridge tipped with a sharp, hollow-steel needle. The cartridge can be mounted on a fixed or telescoping spear, shot from a spear gun, or held in the hand like a knife and stabbed into the target. Both lance and hand-held darts are retrieved for later use. A new cartridge can be quickly and easily inserted from a sheath strapped to the diver's leg. When the needle penetrates the shark's skin, the pressurized CO2 is injected into the shark's body cavity, where it expands rapidly and ruptures internal organs, causing almost immediate death. If the shark is not killed outright, it will be buoyed to the surface by the gas trapped inside of its body, where it will asphyxiate. Tips: When using a spear, strike downward on the top of the dorsal ridge to prevent a reflex sideways slash, and try to get close enough to the shark to strike him anywhere behind the throat valve and forward of his anal vent. The darts do 1 pt AP and 4D6 gas expansion damage which is NOT modified by BTM! Availability: Common.
Electrical Shark Dart (100eb)"When the . . . voltage hit a 12-foot tiger shark, total paralysis rendered the predator helpless. Its back hunched, the ferocious jaws locked open, and the shark sank to the bottom."--Tester, Naval Undersea Research and Development Center
These darts are capable of releasing 50 volts for intervals of one-half second at a frequency of 1500 Hertz. In its present form, the 10-inch dart is driven into the shark from a conventional sea lance, which pulls free, making it unnecessary for the user to be near the target. The dart itself consists of an insulated four-inch blade, designed to remain imbedded in the shark, connected to a housing 1.25" square which holds a battery and an electrode. When the dart hits the shark, lethal current immediately flows in a complete circuit from the uninsulated tip of the blade through the shark, then to the water, and onto the second electrode. If the shark is so huge that the voltage fails to kill it, the current paralyzes it and it sinks toward the bottom, away from its intended prey, until the battery is exhausted several minutes later. Effects upon a human are the same as those of a taser (q.v.). Availability: Poor.
Chemical Shark Repellent (50eb/cartridge)
Many divers remember the notorious unreliability of late twentieth-century chemical shark repellents and would prefer a sea lance or even a boomstick over a small, inexpensive canister of white goo. However, with the development of new, naturally-occuring substances which far outstrip all previous repellents, these divers may want to think again. A milky substance called pardaxin, exuded by a type of fish called the Moses sole, found in the Red Sea, has been refined and synthesized into a safe, reliable repellant which can drive off even the most frenzied of sharks. The substance comes in small, single-use canisters which contain enough repellent to immediately drive off all sharks within a 100 yard radius of the diver, and prevent cruising sharks from being attracted to the area within a half-mile radius. The repellent lasts for 1d6+3 minutes, depending on local currents. Larger bombs are available for 50eb; these repel sharks within a half-mile radius and dissuade cruisers within a full mile (same duration, but it takes 1d6 minutes for the repellent to spread to the limits of its effectiveness). Note that though this chemical is non-toxic, high concentrations (like being in the center of a bomb burst) cause nausea and disorientation in human subjects, and can corrode artificial gill systems. Availability: Rare.
Dye Canister (15eb)
A cheap yet effective way of preventing immediate shark attack, this canister releases a burst of red dye, creating a cloud six feet in diameter around the diver. Sharks cannot see through this shade of red, and a swimmer enveloped in such a cloud is (partially) protected from attack until the sea erases the dye, making him once more visible to the predator. Availability: Common.
Shark Screen (150eb)
For non-divers who suddenly find themselves in shark-infested waters, the Naval Undersea Research and Development Center has come up with a large poymer bag buoyed up by inflatable rings surrounding the opening. The bag folds compactly to be carried with a lifevest or other survival gear. A downed flier or seaman abandoning a sinking ship simply inflates each of the rings, climbs into the bag, and allows it to fill with water. The underwater view of the bag is of a large, odorless, and unappetizing mass, which not only conceals the occupant from view, but holds back blood and other attractions likely to increase the chances of a shark attack. Availability: Common.