"Our founding fathers used laser weapons just like this to reclaim America from the corrupted government and their goons after the bombs fell. You are privileged to serve in a unit that utilizes the PAX system! Now stop complaining and treat that rifle with the respect it deserves!"
-An Army Corps Sergeant chastising a Private who complained about his IX-AR being unwieldyThe OSI (formerly FrenCo) PAX-IX is a modular laser weapon platform in service with various Imperial Military branches and units. As a laser weapon, recoil is almost nonexistent and it's accuracy is pinpoint. While laser weapons have historically sported mediocre damage, the enhanced energy supplies and focusing crystals of the PAX-IX actually allows it to sport a pretty lethal punch, making it a great all-rounder.
A descendant of the PAX-V and PAX-VI that saw service with various military groups (such as FrenCo Corporate Security and the United States Armed Forces) before, during, and after the Resource Wars, the PAX series is considered a traditional Frenkish weapon, and military honor guards are often seen wielding it during parades or public events. In active service, however, it sees comparatively little action compared to other systems such as the M26 (Army/Naval Infantry) or M88 (Vanguards). Although the former weapons are generally favored by many units for their ease and reliability, the PAX-IX platform actually finds frequent use across all branches (a rarity, considering the Vanguards' almost exclusive use of heavier equipment) and serves many niches that the more traditional systems can't quite fill.
For example, since any unit utilizing the PAX-IX system will most certainly have loadouts consisting almost entirely of such weapons, quick field repairs are made easy with the parts on hand, making the laser weapons a favorite of long-range recon and patrol teams (who will often go weeks without visiting logistics). Unlike weapons such as the M26 or M19, the PAX system's grips, trigger guards, and foregrips are suitable for large, armored hands, making it a recommended compact choice for the power-armored Vanguards when engaging in tight quarters where their large gauss rifles would prove borderline unusable. The PAX-IX is also standard-issue for infantry trained in space combat, as when used in space, the PAX's laser is rendered invisible (but still very usable); an underrated edge considering the hectic, four-dimensional fighting going on in such an environment whereas traditional firearms still exhibit visibility when fired and plasma weapons wouldn't work at all.
However, it's largest userbase by far is the Imperial Ranger Corps. While often seen using SOPMOD variants of the M26, more Rangers rely on the PAX-IX than any other system, with it's users praising the handling and versatility of the weapon. Since Rangers are often trained to utilize many different types of weapons, the modability of the weapon is also a favorite feature, as with a bit of workspace, Rangers can change the functionality of their weapon as a deployment changes (such as removing a beam splitter after a fit of urban CQC and adding a beam focuser in anticipation of mountaineering, essentially turning a shotgun into a DMR on the fly).
The PAX-IX, as mentioned before, is a modular system; not just one weapon. With attachments and modifications making a single PAX weapon into anything from a pistol to a squad automatic weapon, different variations serve their own niche.
- IX-AR - The IX-Assault Rifle (pictured above-right) is the most common variant of the PAX-IX. Outfitted with a gatling barrel to sustain automatic fire, it fills the role of a common assault weapon.
- IX-CS - The IX-Combat Shotgun is a CQB-friendly variant sporting the automatic gatling barrel and a modified barrel extension that splits the beams, severely reducing the weapon's range but adding a significant spike to stopping power against close-range targets. Since the beam splitter is fairly easy to install and remove at will, the attachment is often included in the gear of riflemen.
- IX-MR - The IX-Marksman Rifle is a sniper variant, outfitted with a charged barrel and beam focuser, both of which concentrating the beam to be more effective at a significant range.
- IX-AW - The IX-Automatic Weapon is a SAW variant, utilizing the automatic gatling barrel and an overcharged capacitor, allowing for a higher rate of fire. It's also the only variant that can accept the "fusion box", giving it a larger magazine.
- IX-BR - The IX-Battle Rifle is a less-common semiautomatic variant that sports the stock barrel, beam focuser, and built-on variable sight. This variant is mostly in use with police units.
- IX-P - The IX-Pistol is a rare type that sports no stock, a pistol-style ergonomic grip, and a shortened stock barrel. It is not in service with any military or police units (all preferring the much more effective W1000), and instead serves as a staple of civilian markets. Domestic legislation has targeted the IX-P in-particular due to the weapon being easily able to modify into more restricted weapon categories, despite the fact that the parts required to do so are rare in unregulated black markets.
- Stock - Stock variants of the weapon are shipped out of the weapon in a standard "rifle" configuration.
Notable Users and Uses
- In Struggle, Volker's elite militants are wielding "Frenkish laser rifles" (provided by the IIA) at Al Shumaisi prison. Presumably, these are PAX-IX-derived weapons, though they may be older models.
- In Red Planet, Sergeant Allen Baker uses an IX-CS during the Dixie Mine Ambush to great effect, though he is soon disarmed of it during hand-to-hand combat with Yvacheslav Drago.