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Energy sword (fiction)

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A Sangheili Zealot wielding an energy sword.

"A noble and ancient weapon, wielded by the strongest of Sangheili, requires great skill and bravery to use, and inspires fear in those who face its elegant plasma blade."
Supreme Commander Thel 'Vadamee[1]

Energy swords, sometimes known as plasma swords,[2][3] are a class of single-handed, double-bladed energy weapons developed by the Sangheili.[4] To their users, they are formally designated as fireblades,[5][6] and nicknamed plasma blades.[7] The Office of Naval Intelligence has typically type-classified encountered energy sword variants under the designation of the Type-1 Energy Weapon/Sword (T-1 EW/S).[8] Nicknames for the energy sword includes Katana and Kill Beam.[9]

Overview[edit]

The hilt of a deactivated energy sword.

Design details[edit]

An energy sword's twin blades are superheated plasma contained in a tightly configured magnetic field generated from its grooved hilt.[4][10] Within the hilt, there is an energy storage device that doubles as a field generator,[8][11] which, when activated, projects the blade, with the stabilized superheated plasma being enclosed in magnetic lines extending from the hilt.[5][12][13]

The weapon is powered by a small battery that supplies power to both the plasma generator and the magnetic field generator.[14] The battery's energy is reduced for each successful strike. Each strike from the sword will drain the battery by 10% of its maximum energy output. Once the battery power is fully depleted, the sword will deactivate unless recharged. The horizontal hilt forces the wielder to use a punching motion to stab rather than the thrusting motion of most knives and swords.

Some variants, notably the Pelosus-pattern energy sword, contain a fail-safe mechanism that can permanently disable the weapon if the Sangheili wielder drops it.[15] When dropped, the failsafe engages by deactivating the magnetic field before dispersing the plasma. The plasma then consumes the handle and thus destroys the weapon. The fail-safe is included to prevent enemy from acquiring the weapon and using it.[16]

Mass-produced models generally feature a simple hilt design, but more individualized models can be quite ornate. Different patterns are typically expressed through the shape of the blade; different contours can have either smooth curves or elegant angles. Furthermore, the color of the superheated plasma can vary with no functional difference as well, though most energy swords glow with a blue tint.[11][17] Sangheili blademasters are often commissioned to create ornamented and hand-customized for elite individuals.[5] As such, drastic variations have been observed. For example, Arbiter Ripa 'Moramee's matching pair of custom-designed swords had basket-style hilt guards and radiated a high degree of ionized plasma,[18][19] whereas most energy swords contain the blades' plasma with greater efficiency. Arbiter Thel 'Vadam's personal sword, the Prophets' Bane, was pale salmon-colored and had a wider blade compared to mass-produced swords.[20][21] Ancient energy swords are marked by their creator and first owner, but often their legacy is forgotten.[22]

History[edit]

A duel between Haka 'Suukaree, who is wielding a traditional Sangheili blade weapon, and Fal 'Chavamee, who is wielding a Pelosus-pattern energy sword.

The energy sword's design is seen as the logical evolution of an ancient lineage of traditional Sangheili weapons, most notably the twin-scythe and the curveblade;[5][17] superficially, the ancient melee weapons' influence on the energy sword's design is unmistakable.[23] The sword was originally crafted from hardened resin found in trees which lined the coastal territories of Sanghelios, but as they began carefully exploring Forerunner technology, the weapon was refined over time using Covenant technology, eventually taking its current state.[4] Technologically, the energy sword succeeded an older type of Sangheili sword known as the burnblade, which was created by the arm masters of Qikost—one of Sanghelios' moons—in the early period of Sangheili interstellar expansion,[5] and was used in the early years of the Covenant.[24] Modern energy swords are manufactured by the Merchants of Qikost, a prominent group of arms makers on Qikost.[10][13][25] Prior to the fall of High Charity, they were also manufactured in the city's Assembly Forges.[5][11] Following the Great Schism and the dissolution of the Covenant, the designs templates and existing models of energy swords from the Covenant were inherited by its splinter factions.[10]

Closely aligned with the Sangheili's rigid sense of honor,[25] the energy sword is the signature weapon of the Sangheili, and its usage has historically been regarded as both an expression of a Sangheili warrior's clerical honor and his personal combat skills.[12][17] The Sangheili pride themselves on their skills with the weapon,[26] which they regard as holy, and believe that it is better for a Sangheili to fall on his sword to redeem his honor than to die dishonorably.[27][28][29][30] Pzish'zawk is the martial art form which consists of the use of dual wielded energy swords. Mastery of the practice earns one a high level of renown in Sangheili society, and is a skillset sometimes associated with those assigned the title of blademaster.[31]

Operation[edit]

A Zealot impales Junjie Chen with an energy sword and lifted his body in the swing during the Battle of Circinius IV.

Since the weapon utilizes shaped plasma rather than traditional solid matter, the energy sword lacks any solid material in which to hold or impale anything; the sword does not cut or carve in the traditional sense, but rather boils anything it comes into contact with.[9] The blade's edge is therefore extremely volatile, being able to slice through even the toughest metals like a hot knife through butter, including ODST armor and the Titanium-A class plating of UNSC destroyers.[32][33] Injuries caused by the weapon are often gruesome. Stab wounds by the energy sword are, in most cases, fatal, as the blade passes through the body, leaving the organs and tissues cauterized by the extreme temperatures produced by the blades.[34] Body fluids in the area of the stab wound are flash-vaporized upon contact; organs within the area of the stab wounds can suffer life-threatening damage dependent upon which organs are struck. The effects of fluids trapped in organs or arteries and the expansion of heat could lead to ruptures or small explosions, causing additional damage to the victim.

Survival is minimal at best and in the case of non-lethal strikes being administered, proper medical treatment must be applied as soon as possible to ensure permanent survival. Because of the weapon's sheer destructive damage, common forms of fatality to victims include total impalement,[19][35][36] loss of limbs,[37] bodies being bisected,[38][39] and even decapitation.[40]

The weapon's most glaring downside is that it is purely a close-quarters weapon; any combat engagement outside of the effective range puts the wielder at risk. It is for this reason that the Sangheili approach sword combat on the battlefield in two different ways, by funneling the enemy into close-quarters to allow them to strike, and/ or to apply a form of stealth using both technology and technique. Without these, the user is vulnerable to attack by all forms of ranged attack, especially from sniper-based counterattacks.[9] Furthermore, the energy sword can sometimes expose the position of a Sangheili warrior employing active camouflage due to the weapon's energy output.

Usage[edit]

Rtas 'Vadum and Kusovai dual wielding energy swords while sparring.

The Sangheili are very strict on who can be trained in the art of swordsmanship; in civilian life, only aristocrats are permitted to wield energy swords.[25] Sword wielders are not eligible for marriage, though they may breed with any female they choose, married or otherwise, to ensure that the genetic material which result in sword-wielding traits are properly transmitted to each subsequent generation.[4][41]

Within the Covenant military, use of the energy sword is not restricted to aristocrats.[25] Sangheili Minors are generally not permitted to wield the sword because of the high regard in which it is held,[27] though exceptions have been witnessed.[42][43] Storm troops,[44] Ultras, Zealots, Generals, special operation officers, stealth troops, and honor guardsmen commonly use energy swords.[25][45] Some Sangheili special forces units, notably the Silent Shadow, employed bloodblades, blood red-colored energy swords which burn hotter than more common models.[11][17][46]

Within the Banished, there is no enforced uniformity for the energy sword, allowing each warrior to customize their weapons to their own needs.[10] That being said, the most common variants appear to be the Domotos-pattern and the Meluth'qelos-pattern.[47][48]

Variants[edit]

Patterns
Colors
  • Bloodblade - A red colored energy sword,[54][55] notably used by certain Special Operations units,[17] such as the Silent Shadow.[46][54] Observed to be compatible with the Meluth'qelos-pattern,[56] the Pelosus-pattern, and the unidentified pattern variants.[46]
  • Darkstar - A purple energy sword, seemingly associated with old Sangheili mythology.[54]
  • Evocati's Edge - A white energy sword is associated with the Evocati.[54]
  • Kaidon's Guard - An orange energy sword associated with the Swords of Sanghelios.[54]
  • Lance of Suban - A pink energy sword infused with Blamite. The sword and the material originates from Suban.[54]
  • Light of Joori - A yellow energy sword; Light of Joori is named after the star Joori.[54]
  • Necroplasma - A green colored energy sword.[54] The Domotos-pattern variant features a dull green blade that transitions to an inky black near the basket hilt and was used in Spartan-IV War Games.[21] Another variant was a solid green with a normal hilt.[54]
Notable personalized variants
  • Ghostpierce - A highly specialized energy sword mounted on Banished operative Jega 'Rdomnai's prosthetic arm repaired at Cherras Keep. Like many, it was two-pronged but had a red coloration and a forked structure.[10]
  • Prophets' Bane - Thel 'Vadam's personal energy sword with a unique handle and pale salmon coloring.[21]
  • Ripa 'Moramee's swords - Ripa 'Moramee's matching pair of custom-designed swords with basket-style hilt guards and radiated a high degree of ionized plasma.[18][19]

Non-canon and dubious canon appearances[edit]

Covenant Sangheili with energy swords in Halo: The Television Series.

Silver Timeline[edit]

Main article: Silver Timeline

Meluth'qelos-pattern energy sword are used by Covenant Sangheili against humanity.

Fractures: Entrenched[edit]

An image used for the Fracture notice.
This article contains information from the Entrenched Fractures universe, and is not a part of the established Halo canon. To learn more information about the Entrenched universe, see its article.

The Covenant employed arcanoblades, based on arcanotechnology.[57]

Gameplay[edit]

Main article: energy sword

The energy sword was first introduced in Halo: Combat Evolved, albeit unusable by players. It was then made available to players in Halo 2 and has become a mainstay weapon in series ever since. The energy sword is a powerful melee weapon in close-quarters combat, capable of killing most foes with a single strike. It is a power weapon that appears on some multiplayer maps.

There are two ways to attack with the energy sword. The first is a simple melee, this performs a quick horizontal or overhanded swipe. The second attack is to lunge with the energy sword, allowing players lunges forward at the enemies. However, this require the player to initiate an attack when the aiming reticule turns red, indicating that the opposing player is within range. A depleted energy sword hilt can still be used offensively. While the damage varies, it has a higher melee rate than any weapon, allowing the player to barrage an enemy with many hits. Once the hilt is swapped for another weapon, however, it cannot be picked up again and often vanishes entirely.

Trivia[edit]

  • The shape of the energy sword is very similar to the real-life combat weapon, the katar. It was a South Asian weapon and status symbol, similar to the energy sword's symbolization of status among the Sangheili.
  • In the Halo 3 ViDoc Et Tu, Brute? there is an unfinished animation depicting a Jiralhanae Chieftain wielding an energy sword. The energy sword, however, was never seen in the hands of Jiralhanae in the final game.
  • As a part of Dares of Eternity in Destiny 2's Bungie 30th Anniversary Pack, two swords resembling the energy sword, the arc sword Half-Truths and the void sword The Other Half, were released.
  • In Konami's Super Bomberman R, the Halo 3 energy sword is the weapon used by the Arbiter Bomber.

Gallery[edit]

Screenshots[edit]

Concept art and artwork[edit]

Merchandise[edit]

List of appearances[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ This variant was not exclusively used by members of the Fleet of Retribution, as seen in Halo: Blood Line.

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ Halo 2, Halo 2 Limited Collector's Edition Manual
  2. ^ Halo: Combat Evolved: Prima's Official Strategy Guide, page 15
  3. ^ Halo 2: The Official Strategy Guide, page 30
  4. ^ a b c d Halo Waypoint, energy sword (Retrieved on Sep 21, 2011) [local archive] [external archive]
  5. ^ a b c d e f Halo Encyclopedia (2022 edition), page 307
  6. ^ Halo Encyclopedia (2022 edition), page 482
  7. ^ a b Halo 5: Guardians, campaign level Alliance
  8. ^ a b Bungie.net, Halo: Reach Ordnance Page (Retrieved on Feb 7, 2021) [archive]
  9. ^ a b c Halo Encyclopedia (2011 edition), page 348
  10. ^ a b c d e Halo Encyclopedia (2022 edition), page 482
  11. ^ a b c d Halo: Official Spartan Field Manual, page 183
  12. ^ a b Halo Waypoint, Halo 4 Interactive Guide - Covenant Weapons (Retrieved on Mar 27, 2014) [local archive] [external archive]
  13. ^ a b Halo 4: The Essential Visual Guide, page 92
  14. ^ Halo Encyclopedia (2009 edition), page 335
  15. ^ Halo: First Strike, page 74
  16. ^ a b Halo: Combat Evolved, Gameplay
  17. ^ a b c d e Halo Waypoint, Universe - Weapons - energy sword (Retrieved on Oct 23, 2021) [archive]
  18. ^ a b Halo: The Essential Visual Guide, page 10
  19. ^ a b c Halo Wars, Cinematics
  20. ^ Halo Waypoint, Canon Fodder - Clarity and Grace (Retrieved on Oct 17, 2021) [archive]
  21. ^ a b c Halo 5: Guardians, Gameplay
  22. ^ Halo Waypoint, Cannon Fodder: Locke & Load (Retrieved on Apr 13, 2016) [archive]
  23. ^ Halo Legends - The Duel
  24. ^ Halo: Broken Circle, page 115
  25. ^ a b c d e Halo: The Essential Visual Guide, page 63
  26. ^ Halo Graphic Novel
  27. ^ a b Halo Encyclopedia (2009 edition), page 127
  28. ^ Halo Encyclopedia (2011 edition), page 132
  29. ^ Halo: The Cole Protocol, page 53
  30. ^ Halo: The Cole Protocol, page 141
  31. ^ Halo Waypoint, Canon Fodder - High Value Histories (Retrieved on Sep 8, 2022) [archive]
  32. ^ Halo: The Cole Protocol, page 84
  33. ^ Halo: First Strike, page 72
  34. ^ Halo: Evolutions - Midnight in the Heart of Midlothian, page 91
  35. ^ Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn
  36. ^ Halo: The Cole Protocol, page 77
  37. ^ Halo: The Cole Protocol, page 76
  38. ^ Halo: First Strike, page 58
  39. ^ Halo: The Fall of Reach, page 99
  40. ^ Halo: The Cole Protocol, page 79
  41. ^ Halo 3, Bestiarum - Sangheili
  42. ^ Halo Wars, campaign level Alpha Base (Halo Wars level)
  43. ^ Halo Legends - The Package (animated short)
  44. ^ Halo 4, campaign level Prologue
  45. ^ a b Halo 2, Gameplay
  46. ^ a b c Halo: Evolutions - Headhunters (short story)
  47. ^ a b Halo Wars 2, Gameplay
  48. ^ a b c Halo Infinite, Gameplay
  49. ^ Halo 4, Gameplay
  50. ^ a b c Halo 5: Guardians, Gameplay
  51. ^ Halo Encyclopedia (2022 edition), page 307
  52. ^ Halo: Reach, Gameplay
  53. ^ Halo 3, Gameplay
  54. ^ a b c d e f g h i Halo Waypoint, Canon Fodder - Art of Wort (Retrieved on May 21, 2021) [archive]
  55. ^ Halo Waypoint, Canon Fodder: Brute Force (Retrieved on Apr 20, 2021) [archive]
  56. ^ Halo Infinite, campaign level House of Reckoning
  57. ^ Halo Waypoint, STORY SHARD: THE LAST SKY MARSHAL - PART 3 (Retrieved on Aug 15, 2022) [archive]
  58. ^ Halo: Shadows of Reach, chapter 3