The orbiting kinetic bombardment system, also known as the bombardment platform, or the orbital array, was designed by Eric Langhorne. Merlin Athrawes believed it was designed to detect and react to indicators of advanced technology. Native Safeholdians, unaware of the orbital array or its purpose, referred to its awesome power as the "Rakurai," or "Langhorne's Rakurai."
Pei Shan-wei and the expedition staff who supported her had established the Alexandria Enclave on the southernmost continent with the intention of preserving all the knowledge Langhorne had suppressed in the colonial population, while Langhorne and his supporters established the center of their new religion, the Church of God Awaiting, at Zion. During this period, Langhorne secretly arranged for the covert placement of the orbital kinetic bombardment system around Safehold. When this array was complete, he used it to annihilate the Alexandria Enclave and much of the surrounding continent, killing Dr. Pei, her supporters, and nearly every colonist who had come into contact with them. (OAR)
Merlin Athrawes conducted a test early in the Year of God 895 at the Castaway Islands, by using EW emitters to simulate steam engines in use. These tests did not trigger the bombardment platforms, convincing him that it was safe to proceed with the introduction of steam engines. (HFAF)