The plasma pike is a close-quarters weapon from the Kuhneebo Conglomerate. It is popular both as a discrete weapon, and as a mounted tactical accessory for firearms. Consisting of a telescoping shaft, internal gas system, and ultrahard composite head with a plasma delivery mechanism, it provides a high degree of versatility and penetrating power in a portable package. The plasma pike's name is derived from a secondary effect of its operation - when the head is superheated to the point of penetrating armor, it flash-phases the nearby air into plasma, giving it a signature appearance.
With the increased proliferation of drones and personal armor that allow enemies to close distance with soldiers, close-quarters weapons have had a corresponding increase in demand, and the plasma pike is one of the most-common military weapons in the galaxy. In addition to being the standard melee weapon in most Kongolese armed forces and police departments, powered and unpowered variants are overwhelmingly popular among the residents of Zeconis and Corrilia, and among Arks they outsell any non-Stonethrower weapon exports.
Due to its telescoping frame, a plasma pike can expand many times its original length until it is a full-length spear of several meters, depending on the application. This superior range allows it to have the first strike against most close-quarters combatants, and makes it exponentially viable when used in formations. This also provides a significantly longer reach than typical bayonets. Their compact nature results in a shorter runtime than larger weapons. Most weapon-mounted plasma pike variants are able to patch into the gas cannister of a stonethrower, allowing it to run for an extended period of time, or refuel in the field.
Plasma pikes tend to be focused on penetrating power, and lack any sort of ranged capabilities of their own. For example, the ability to shoot streams of molten liquid at a target - a feature commonly found in the metallic Ashkathi heatstaff - is absent from all military variants and all but the most expensive custom and niche civilian variants. Instead, a soldier is expected to carry a separate discrete pistol or rifle for ranged capabilities. This is due to the plasma pike being considered a secondary weapon, as its use requires being close to the enemy. For this reason, plasma pikes also serve as a deterrent, intimidating and scaring armored opponents and ground vehicles to prevent them from closing the distance and approaching soldiers.