An Operation Orb (演算宝珠) or Computation Jewel is a tool mages use to interfere with reality through magic according to their will, a breakthrough to recreate miraculous phenomena through the combination of both mana and analogue computation.
The device is currently a black box, as not much has been revealed about its operation, but its main function is known to process the world's data and convert mana of user mages. The Great Powers had entered a cutthroat competition in researching and developing this technology. In the second chapter of Deus lo Vult, it's revealed that the Empire is the pioneer in this aspect of magical technology through their Chief Engineer Adelheid von Schugel, the man also responsible for keeping Empire's supremacy in magical technology, the culmination of which is the practical implementation of a dual-core Operation Orb: the Elenium Type 97 ‘Mobile Assault’ Operation Orb.
Orbs require basic maintenance at least once a month in order to operate properly.
In ancient time, magic exists in various forms in many regions, civilizations, cultures, and even traditional customs. However, those who could trigger a miracle by their own are extremely rare. For those who had magic potential, most of them could only increase drug effect a bit, breathe in water temporarily, heal a bit faster, etc. People in some regions decided to research such phenomenon instead of fearing them, finding that some specific stuff could be used as catalysts to make magic usage more efficient. They even found that some heroes in history actually used holy relics to trigger miracles.
As magic was accomplished with various magical devices which were not very efficient and stable, the Industrial Revolution occurred. Magic then went through a revolution following other fields of study that were influenced by war. In their search to optimize spell composition, the analogue computer Differential Analyzer caught their attention. Inspiring engineer to duplicate computerization by magic and invent the modern magical device, Operational Orb.
The design of the magical computer that facilitates mages to compose spells is based on a pocket watch. Making the Operational Orb a device that is compact, sturdy and precise. In Tanya's era, an operation orb could be more expensive than a flagship tank or aircraft. In short, normal orbs cost as much as the most powerful weapons.
Operation Orb Models
In manga 31, there is an indefinable unit called "kt" to measure the power output of each operation orb. The maximum power output of operation orbs officially adopted by Imperial Army is 200 kt.
Type 13 Standard Operation Orb
Elenium Type 95 Operation Orb
Developed by Adelheid von Schugel and his team of Elenium Arms as the first multi-core operational orb. It uses 4 cores as opposed to using only 1 like normal models do, quadrupling the output of an Operation Orb that uses mana in place of fuel, but at the cost of the mana consumption rate increasing by four-fold. The Type 95 is an experimental revolutionary Orb which theoretically allows the user to reach an altitude of 18,000 feet and cast multiple spells. Its final goal is to achieve Mana Fixation. However, it is very unstable and fragile, with a very high chance of exploding. It manga chapter 31, its power output is mentioned as unmeasurable.
Thanks to Existence X Tanya is the only person in the world who can safely use the Type 95 by praying to "God" or "Being X". Achieving even miraculous deed of materializing mana to the world, a technology that 1,000 years ahead of the present. Existence X has also modified the orb to cause Tanya to gradually become more faithful to him whenever she utilizes it, much to her ire. However this makes her entered state of mental corruption where she able to retain her memories even vaguely with the help of rosary on her neck. She barely remembered the selection of 203rd Aerial Mage Battalion due to side effect of Elenium Type 95 usage that corrupts her mental.
Elenium Type 97 ‘Mobile Assault’ Operation Orb
An Operation Orb with 2 cores developed by Professor Schugel, a product version of Tanya's Elenium Type 95 that couldn't be mass produced. The principle of this orb is the same as Elenium Type 95, but more stable and far inferior output.
However, this Orb is still a generation ahead of existing Orbs used by other countries. It is a revolutionary model that was hard to handle for single-core users. In manga chapter 31, its power output is 300 kt.
6F Water-Resistant ‘Precision Pocket Watch’
A new model handled by US Skunk Association in April, 1926. It was very famous around Commonwealth marine mages that they wanted it if at all possible. It wouldn't rust in the salty ocean breezes and its movements were very reliable. However, it only just got on the production line and was going to be a while before satisfying the domestic demand.
4U General-Purpose ‘Precision Pocket Watch’
A old model handled by US Skunk Association in April, 1926. Its performance was so-so rated by Commonwealth.
G58 ‘Precision Pocket Watch’
An experimental model invented by US Skunk Association which prioritizes stabilities yet has poor peripheral compatibility and high cost. This prototype eventually failed to be adopted.