The Mk 56A1 Wendigo is a gatling-type weapon of human design. Often considered the pinnacle of human-made firearms, the Wendigo is the single most destructive weapon of its kind. It has been employed by various alien armies, and is the service weapon of choice for spacefaring warships.
The Mk 56 is chambered exclusively for the specially designed M501 Incisor Rounds (essentially just scaled-up Drill Rounds), and can fire them at upwards of 6400 rounds per minute (RPM). Even the most heavily armored ships, such as those of Taik design, suffer damage when faced with the Wendigo.
The Mk 56 Wendigo unofficially began its life in the late stages of the Human-Taik war, initially as a means of dealing with potential Valule attacks. It entered testing along-side the Valkyrie-class Striker, a sister project. Its design was based largely on that of the earlier Mk 54's, which fired at a considerably slower - though still impressive - 4800 RPM, and was chambered for standard Drill Rounds. The Mk 54 had been a standard service weapon in the Earth Alliance Military, and was often mounted on vehicles or used as a Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW). While not considered a landmark weapon, the Mk 54 had one notable trait: it could be mounted onto spacefaring vehicles with ease.
In 2490, nine months after the end of the human-taik war, The Mk 54 was put out of service, having been replaced by the Mk 55 Phoenix. The Phoenix entered production at the same time as the Valkyrie XF (Experimental Fighter). It was the first human-made firearm designed specifically for use in space. Subsequently, it was also the first human-designed weapon to be employed by other races, notably the Kexs and even the Taik. While the Mk 55 boasted tremendous power, its use was seen as rather limited. It was best suited to small fighters, and was outmatched by the immense railguns found on most frigates and destroyers.
In response to this, the weapons R&D section of the newely formed Human-Omorra Alliance (HOA) set out to improve the Phoenix for more generalized use. In 2501, the Incisor Rounds were developed, having gone through extensive testing. While capable of punching through even the thickest of hulls, the new rounds were too large for the Mk 55. In 2505, the Mk 56 entered testing after Omorran approval. The weapon was built around the Incisor Round, and thus was chambered exclusively for it. The new firearm was almost twice as as large as the Mk 55, measuring nearly 40 feet long, and weighting in at over 2 metric tonnes. The scale was intentional, as the Mk 56 was designed purely for space warfare, where weight played little role. After just three months of testing, the design of the Mk 56 was finalized, in the form of the Mk 56A1 Wendigo.
The Mk 56 Wendigo is a gatling-type weapon (multiple rotating barrels), and is designed primarily for space battles against large-scale ships (such as destroyers and cruisers). It has a total of 8 barrels, each of which is exactly 42.5 feet long. The entire configuration is 48 feet in length, and close to 8 feet in height. It weighs in at 2.2 metric tonnes (roughly 4850 pounds). The Wendigo has a maximum fire rate of 6400 RPM; 106 rounds are fired every second. When combined with the bright orange glow of the Incisor rounds, the weapon appears to fire a solid beam of light. When Taik warriors first witnessed the Wendigo being fired, they mistook it for an energy weapon. The Wendigo takes 3/4 of a second to fully spin-up its barrels.
The standard ammo limit for the Wendigo is 2000 rounds, all of which can be used up in a little over 18 seconds.
The Wendigo has seen extensive use, notably:
- Taik Warlord Jakrall was the first of his race to use the weapon on his flagship.
- The 203rd Legion of the HOA was fitted with over 500 Wendigos, more than any other fleet.
- The Lady Mercury, after being taken over by Tom's crew, was armed with a stolen Wendigo during its retrofitting.