This is about the Star Trek universe, natch…
I’m really not sold on the entire “disintegration” thing when a phaser (or disruptor,
or as happened in one ep. a lightning bolt) set to maximum setting will really be
able to disintegrate (vaporize) the target, be it a Klingon, Gumato (err Mugato), or
cute shapeshifting chick impersonating Kirk.
My feeling is that the phaser will just blast a beam-sized hole in the target more or
less instantaneously, leaving the rest of the body intact. For disintegration to occur
the intense heat from the phaser blast would somehow have to very quickly
propogate through the target body without much loss of said heat, down to the
toes and up to the head; I just don’t see that happening. Maybe a disruptor works
on a different principle, so you might have an out there (like that model which
works agonizingly slowly).
In one ep. Riker fell in love with a female spy, and confronted her at a conference
meeting where she was attempting to assassinate an enemy leader. He eventually
vaporized her, but I was struck by the fact that Picard was right behind her ,
and made no attempt to get out of the line of fire! Riker could have easily hit him