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Noted as being too graceful to be an actual weapon, however, from a distance they were capable of rotating on their towers to appear almost ornamental in function thus giving them the appearance of animated obelisks. These turrets' true purpose was often revealed to enemies by the aperture found midway at the front of the tower. The Romulans employed a higher yield of photon shells than those used by other races for colonial operations. This came at the cost of fewer shots being fired but those that did hit their target caused maximum damage.
These defensive emplacements were typically found at the corner of colonial perimeters where their excellent range of fire allowed them to strike any aggressor that approached the colony. Despite being an effective weapon system, their high power often demanded a great deal of energy to function and meant that only a few such turrets were present at a colony at any single moment. Yet, the FireThorn-class photon torpedo turrets were often known to colonists as the "Killer of Hope" due to its looming stare. This reputation was earned during the invasion of Octat III where three such towers pounded the city of Temen continously for 63 days in reprisal for attacks on Romulan personnel. (TOS video game: New Worlds)