- "So it's like a blaster you have to hit someone with. I've got to have one."
- ―Wes Janson, about a blastsword
The blastsword was a melee weapon favored by the Adumari noblemen for use in their frequent honor duels. The weapon closely resembled a conventional sword, except for one significant difference. The end of the sword contained an energy outlet which, when turned on, emitted a blaster shot upon contact being made with the tip. This emitter also left light trails in the air where it traveled, an effect which was used for comic purposes by New Republic pilot Wes Janson, who took a fancy to the weapon while on a diplomatic mission to Adumar. The Adumari had several variants of the weapon, including a polearm version used by guards of the perator, or ruler, of the nation of Cartann. The weapons were considered fit for polite company, and Adumari duelists, such as Cheriss ke Hanadi, often wielded them single-handedly while holding a shorter knife or dagger in the off hand.
Adumari culture afforded a certain significance to the blastsword, and they were carried by nobility and commoners alike. Over the years, Adumari nobility developed a stylized form for use of the weapon, which included lowering the lethality of the blaster charge to only stun instead of kill, as well as make certain blows illegal for use, though some fighters ignored those rules. Successful competitive blastsword fighters could even make a living off of endorsements from manufacturers of blastswords, such as Ghephaenne Deeper-Craters Weaponmakers. Though most honor duels fought on Adumar were lethal before the Adumari Civil War, there was a growing trend toward nonlethal blastsword duels after the Adumar joined the New Republic. The blastsword eventually found its way offworld and became popular on several other worlds as well.
- "Hello, viewers, I'm Wes Janson. Blastswords are exactly what they sound like: half sword, half blaster. You've got a hilt with a power cell and a curved blastguard that protects your hand and makes a nice bludgeon. The blade is about a meter long, sharp, but not at the tip. Instead, that's a weird little blaster nozzle, which carries a built-up charge that explosively releases on contact. It can kill or maim pretty efficiently in the right hands. That is, not mine."
- ―Wes Janson, during an interview about Adumar
The blastsword was a long metal sword that was about as long as a Human man's arm and featured a blade about a meter long. The weapon was extremely well-balanced, allowing a proficient user to wield it in one hand with ease. The hilt featured a pommel and was covered by a curved metal guard to protect the hand of the user, while the blade's edge began a few centimeters above the guard. The guard was also described by New Republic pilot Wes Janson as useful for bludgeoning. Unlike other sword designs, which featured a sharp tip, the blastsword had a flared nozzle at its tip. The tip was connected to a blaster mechanism powered by a cell located in the hilt that, when activated by means of a switch at the pommel, would discharge an energy blast upon contact with a solid object. When the blaster was activated, the blastsword's tip made a humming noise and glowed with energy, leaving behind colorful lines as it was moved. Due to its exotic design and function, a user required training to wield the weapon proficiently.
While many Adumari carried standard blastswords, polearm versions of the weapon did exist. These were used on at least one occasion by the honor guard protecting the perator, or ruler, of the nation of Cartann.
- "It is a dying art. Oh, most nobles carry blastswords in public, and many commoners like myself. But the art as they practice it in their schools is stylized. They train with blaster power set to shock instead of burn, and they have rules that make some sorts of blows illegal. I, on the other hand, researched the blastsword art of centuries ago, when it was still very prestigious. I learned about alternative secondary weapons and using the environment against my enemies."
- ―Adumari duelist Cheriss ke Hanadi on her use of the blastsword
The blastsword was native to the world of Adumar. By the New Republic era, the weapon had been in existence for centuries and was considered more prestigious in previous years. In 13 ABY, the weapon was commonly carried among the Adumari, principally among the world's aristocracy, but also by commoners. It was often wielded one-handed, with the other hand grasping a knife or dagger. Over the years, the Adumari nobility developed their use of the weapon into a stylized form, lowering the lethality of the blaster charge and prohibiting certain moves and strikes with the weapon. As piloting and starfighter combat rose to prowess among the Adumari, the stature of blastsword duelists was lessened, though the blastsword was still considered the weapon of choice for settling personal disputes in Cartann. The traditional Cartann salute used by pilots was also the hand motion of saluting with a blastsword, even if the individual was not carrying one at the moment. Furthermore, successful blastsword fighters such as Cheriss ke Hanadi were able to make a living via endorsements from the manufacturers of blastswords, such as Ghephaenne Deeper-Craters Weaponmakers.
By 13 ABY, Hanadi was the Cartann Ground Champion of blastsword dueling. She practiced styles from the blastsword's prominence in years past, enabling her to defeat bigger, stronger opponents using contemporary styles. Her duels were sometimes fought for entertainment, although some of her challengers also had personal reasons for fighting her. As a popular and successful duelist, she received many challenges. The weapons were practically ubiquitous in Cartann, and were considered fit for polite society by that time. One of their main uses was in honor duels, where an Adumari, upon feeling slighted or offended, could challenge another to a duel to the death over the offense. In Cartann society, a challenge to a duel could be refused in the case that only one side could possibly benefit from the outcome of the duel. Once a challenge was accepted, the blastsword fighter could not back down from the fight without incredible loss of face. It was considered an insult to apply conditions to a blastsword duel, as it indicated the challenger was not interested in the honor to be won from winning the duel, only in the conditions.
In some duels, where the outcome was not immediately decided and the loser was defeated but still alive, the victor could choose an onlooker to decide the fate of the duel via means of a hand signal. A hand held with the palm up meant the loser would spared; a hand held with palm down indicated that the defeated combatant would forfeit his or her life. This occurred in duels that were held over a title, as well as more informal duels.
However, the weapons were not entirely used only for dueling and competition. While the New Republic pilots of Red Flight were on Adumar on a diplomatic mission, six Adumari men accosted them with blastswords in an assassination attempt that was defeated by the New Republic pilots, who were aided by ke Hanadi. While one pilot, Major Wes Janson, took to carrying the weapon shortly after arriving on Adumar, the others thereafter armed themselves with blastswords in case of further assassination attempts. Later, upon learning of the perator of Cartann's intention to unite all of Adumar by force, the leader of Red Flight, General Wedge Antilles ordered his pilots to abandon use of the blastsword before they announced their refusal to aid the perator. Antilles' reasoning for doing so was that carrying the weapon was lending credence to what he viewed as a disrespect for the value of life held by the Adumari.
Shortly afterward, upon learning that he and his men had been condemned to run the gauntlet of an armed mob through the streets of the Cartann City, Antilles changed his mind regarding the Adumari weapon. He asked for and was given four blastswords by several onlookers. They later used those blastswords when using flatcam recording devices to create a decoy trail to lure away some of their pursuit by filming Janson attacking the camera holder with his blaster and showing out which direction the pilots were headed, while they actually headed another way.
Upon the conclusion of the Adumari Civil War, the new perator of Cartann, Balass ke Teldan demanded a blastsword and pistol before honor would allow him to accept his father's abdication and claim the rule of Cartann. After Adumar joined the New Republic, the weapon's use spread to other worlds, becoming popular on several planets that already had established dueling traditions. On Adumar itself, the planet began a growing trend of nonlethal honor duels as a result of New Republic influences on their culture.
The blastsword was carried by many Adumari, including a majority of the nobility. Some, such as Thanaer ke Sekae and Jeapird ke Fanax, were skilled in its use, though according to Cheriss ke Hanadi, the majority of Adumari pilots were not proficient in fighting with the weapon.
- "Despite knowing next to nothing about using that blastsword."
"I knew how the thing worked, at least, and had a reasonably good idea how the other guy would react."
- ―Tycho Celchu and Wes Janson discussing blastsword fighting
Wes Janson was a New Republic fighter pilot and a member of Red Flight in 13 ABY. He, along with Antilles, Celchu and Klivian, was part of a delegation of starfighter pilots sent on a diplomatic mission to Adumar. Janson, upon learning about blastswords, was eager to carry one and adopted the carrying of a blastsword as part of his daily costume. He also used his blastsword briefly when Red Flight came under attack. However, as he later bragged in an interview with documentarian Hallis Saper, Janson's one honor duel was responsible for encouraging the Adumari to switch towards nonlethal duels. After ke Hanadi had fallen to Thanaer ke Sekae, Janson challenged ke Sekae to a duel, insulting the Adumari noble by proclaiming that he was only worth fighting if ke Hanadi's life was spared. The offended aristocrat was eager to claim the honor of killing Janson, especially after Janson's ribald remarks, and accepted the challenge. However, Janson proceeded to first distract and anger ke Sekae by drawing patterns in the air with the glowing tip of his blastsword, including a crude caricature of ke Sekae himself. The enraged Adumari charged Janson, who proceeded to disarm him and beat him with his fists and feet before slapping ke Sekae unconscious. Janson later claimed that this duel had opened the Adumari's collective eyes and caused them to change from their culture of lethal honor killings, a claim which other members of Red Flight disputed.
Cheriss ke Hanadi
- "Cheriss is considered a gutter-fighter, vulgar by the standards of the blastsword art. With this court, the fact that she wins most of the time is her primary saving grace."
- ―Tomer Darpen
In 13 ABY, shortly before the Adumari Civil War, Cheriss ke Hanadi, a young Adumari woman, was the Cartann Ground Champion and considered one of the best blastsword duelists in Cartann. Due to vertigo, she was unable to serve as a pilot, so she escaped from a life of drudgery living in underground warrens and working in Adumar's subterranean industries to become a freelance duelist. ke Hanadi studied older blastsword techniques, researching topics such as using the environment and alternate offhand weapons. She had a particular disdain for Cartann swordsmen, who she claimed were too dedicated to style over practicality. However, her style was considered impolite and low by Adumari nobility, according to New Republic diplomat Tomer Darpen.
ke Hanadi was assigned by the perator of Cartann to serve as the local guide for the members of Red Flight during their stay on Adumar, and displayed her prowess with the blastsword to them on numerous occasions, both in duels and by helping defend them against a group of would-be assassins. During one set of duels which ke Hanadi undertook while exhausted and emotionally jarred, she was defeated and received a blast from her opponent's blastsword in the upper left pectoral. Thanks to Red Flight, her life was saved, as Red Two and Red Four, Tycho Celchu and Derek Klivian, saw that she received medical attention, while Red Three, Wes Janson, dealt with her opponent, Thanaer ke Sekae. After she recovered, ke Hanadi joined the New Republic and, with her vertigo cured by modern galactic medicine, became a starfighter pilot. She was trained in A-wing fighters by Celchu and joined Moonlight Squadron aboard the Mon Calamari Star Cruiser Mon Casima. She was also granted a special dispensation that allowed her to wear her knife and blastsword while on duty and was at one point the head vibroblade instructor for all of Starfighter Command. She later served in Rakehell Squadron and flew in the Battle of Centerpoint Station.
Behind the scenes
The Adumari blastsword first appeared in X-Wing: Starfighters of Adumar by Aaron Allston. While the Adumar: Pilots Wanted article describes the weight of a blastsword as twenty-two kilograms, this article assumes that 2.1 kilograms, a number given in both the Hero's Guide and The Unknown Regions, is the correct figure.
- X-Wing: Starfighters of Adumar (First appearance)