But what I noticed is, thanks to the vertical top grip and horizontal back grip when combined with its parabolic shape (that is the best word, right? It looks like an upside-down U to me), if grabbing one from the front and another in the back, you've got a pretty neat futuristic gun,
I figured that much out ages ago. What I did today was expand it to have four modes:
*Snipe Mode: Pretty self-explanatory. Holding it at shoulder-height (approximately), and you have a weapon that will create a zoomable scope. It shoots a single shot, which is super-concentrated/condensed into a high-power, high-velocity energy blast, which travels a long distance to impact a target. (And may continue to go through the target even after penetration.)
*Shot Mode: Holding the gun at hip level, this mode will fire many of the same type of shot as Snipe Mode does, just much, much weaker, and also less capable of traveling distance (still able to go far, but not SUPER far). These many shots, in rapid succession, are still fairly powerful, able to make this weapon spray-n-pray. Or in short? A machine gun.
*Burst Mode: The gun slowly charges up, and then launches a super-strong continuous blast for a couple of seconds which travels a reasonable distance and which utterly destroys everything in its path. This is basically the weapon's version of an RPG: slow to load, but delivering destructive power with no equal. As an added bonus, it's got the aesthetic and control of a continuous-laser-gun. It therefore holds the highest power, but is of course by far the slowest weapon.
*Blast Mode: The gun is turned sideways, with the appropriate grip change. It now shoots a strong burst that gradually spreads out, weakening. In other words? Shotgun. It has the same strengths: it's the mode with the best crowd control, and which--at point blank--deals the, pound for pound, most damage (even more than Burst Mode, which like an RPG is dangerous at such close range), but which is ineffective at mid-to-long distances.
That's as much as I got there, with a futuristic weapon, but I did make another, good and proper, actual story which happens to go the OTHER way: Past!
It would be some time in Japanese history. Lateish into the days of samurai, but not at the absolute end. I'm not sure exactly when, to be honest, I'd have it, it'd just be somewhere vaguely around that time period. The series would basically be somewhere between Samurai Champloo and Ruroni Kenshin, albeit taking itself a little more seriously than both did. (Slightly. Nothing too grimdark. Just...a little less ridiculousness.)
So! Lots of fighting involved. Something that the story would feature is that many of the best combatants in the world--not all of them, just most of the best ones, i.e., the people most likely to be encountered as friend or foe--have access to Ki.
...Now, when I say Ki. I don't mean DragonBall Z, Bleach, YuYuHakusho, Street Fighter, etc. uses of Ki/Chi/Xi/Chakra/Rei/whatever their preferred term is. Okay, for about half of those stories, maybe early levels of it. You know, physical combat with basic augmentation, that level. Not KaMeHaMeHadoken, destroy-a-city level.
I said Samurai Champloo for good reason. In that series, there was one episode which explicitly used it, but there were other characters who were implied to be able to use it, especially near the end. (Among the list, the female warrior and the warrior of the last few episodes, to keep the descriptions spoiler-free.)
It's at that level. Maybe a little bit more than that, like early Ruroni Kenshin levels: even early in the series, there were some supernatural stuff involving that sort of thing, from paralysis to the fighting style of Aoshi. But, preferably, not late-levels of Ruroni Kenshin. (I mean...if you read the manga--or even the anime by the end of its original run, even by then it was slowly creeping up--you'd know that the techniques slowly became less and less based in reality, even using Ki as an explanation for it. I ignored plausibility for the sake of enjoyment, butstill.)
Anyway! So, Ki is a part of the setting. It's mainly used in five ways:
-Attack Ki is obvious enough. It is used in a few ways. Increase in speed. Increase in the cutting power of an object, most commonly, a sword. (Again, think Samurai Champloo: cutting through rocks, cutting water, that sort of thing.) Make it so that attacks which should have missed end up hitting and dealing damage. (The one explicit use of it in Samurai Champloo.)
-Defense Ki is used to increase the durability of something, and also to deflect, as protection, as armor. This is mostly used directly on the body (think Kempachi tanking a blow in Bleach, among other examples), but can also be used on, say, the hands, to block, to deflect, for martial art combat in general. There is some overlap with Attack Ki, of course. (Attack Ki can increase the power behind an open-hand jab to penetrate, Defense Ki can enhance a punch to knock someone out, to use a common contrast.) But it's also mostly self-explanatory.
-Perception Ki is basically sensing the movements (and instinctively, aspects of them to more trained users, up to and including perfectly able to predict their fighting style) of their opponent. Its most fundamental form, which most combatants instinctively tap into, is sizing an opponent up: "that guy's strong", "that guy's weak". This is not at all too uncommon an ability in any shonen or seinen that involves fighting (heck, basically anything with fighting at all, really), so it's also pretty much something I don't need to explain that well.
-Masking Ki is the inverse of Perception Ki: it is the innate ability to mask aspects of yourself. This is a much, much harder skill to master. It covers everything: masking killing intent, masking emotions, masking movement, masking what you're thinking, masking what you're going to do, it's basically the innate ability to hide your intention.
It is arguably the most valuable of all forms of Ki. (With Perception/sensing as a secondary.) If your opponent doesn't know how, when, or even if you're going to strike, you're a much larger threat. It's a useful talent for those who want to avoid something, too, and pretend to be something else.
Think akin to goofy-Kenshin versus serious-Kenshin: someone who knows him from before would know better, and those with enough perception can pick up on it, but to the average person, they see the incompetent-goofy-Kenshin and think he's a failure of a swordsman. This, because Kenshin intentionally masks his true skills; he doesn't want to fight, so he'll only give glimpses of his strength at the appropriate moments.
It's also akin to hiding power levels in DBZ, in that the person can be fighting, and holding back their full strength. Perceptive combatants can tell when someone's holding back, and maybe even by how much. But if a person is really skilled at masking ki, then they can have held-back strength within held-back strength within held-back strength, giving any level of combat-prowess they wish to appear.
-Trick-Ki is basically parlor tricks: basic illusions like after-images, temporary paralysis, hypnotizing a target temporarily, things like that. These are things that a strong-willed Ki user can easily break, for the most part. All the same, they make up the majority of Ki users, and even combatants, because even an experienced fighter can be caught off-guard by them.
Even if the experienced fighter is expecting them, they may not be able to break the technique. Fundamental to Trick-Ki is that, regardless of what it is, in order to defeat it, first you must know how to defeat it. And defeating it is not always easy. And some Trick-Kis cannot be broken even by the best. Said unbreakable Trick-Kis are usually simple tricks, like the aforementioned after-image. In cases like this, the only way to overcome the technique is by compensating and fighting around the limitation.
To put it in other words, tricks that directly affect a person's combat ability are not too hard to overcome, especially when understanding what the technique is. However, tricks that are more indirect, simple misdirections for instance, are harder to do anything about other than work around the restriction, a skill any good fighter--especially those with high Perception Ki--would have anyway.
Now that we've established what the Kis used are, let's describe the protagonist I made. In this case, he's a right-handed swordsman...yet he carries his sheath on his right side. When he pulls out his sword, he uses it exclusively in his right hand.
Uniquely to him, when he cuts someone with his sword, they don't die. Nobody who faces him knows why. They just know that, if he cuts them, they'll pass out, basically unharmed. There may be some blood spilt, but only superficially so, not even bad enough to get infected (especially not if treated).
When he starts to fight seriously, he will use his sheath in his right hand, using a reverse grip. (You know, this thing? Yeah, that.) Think...well, if his sword was sheathed, and he had his right arm extended outward holding the sheathe, the stance which would happen from grabbing the sword with his left and unsheathing it. You see this all the time. Like this. I could use any dozens or hundreds of images to convey the idea. He holds his sheath, and he holds his sword, and from there, he begins to fight even harder.
This combat style is very defensive: the sheath never takes damage. He never leaves an opening. His sword is strong enough to protect him from any blow, and his sheath can act much, much faster as a secondary defense if his sword isn't fast enough on its own.
Against lesser opponents for which just his sword isn't enough to knock them out, they never even know when they were struck. But they know that, somehow, when he fights with his sheath, he seems to always win. This is because he has a trick unique to him.
Most people who'd fight with a sword and a sheath in tandem would use the attack ki on the sword, and the defense ki on the sheath.
He does it the other way around, so his sword becomes blunt: it's unable unable to cut deep, because he's specifically using his ki to keep it from cutting deep, protecting others instead of himself. His sheath is his real weapon, which is why his sword is so defensive against more skilled opponents.
And when he does use the sheath, it's fast. Very, very fast. His ki enhances its speed, and power, and basically makes it deliver a strike that gives a strong concussive force. Most, when facing him, never see it coming, because he is an absolute master at masking ki. He doesn't hide he's a fighter, but he still hides his talent layer under layer, choosing what to show to an opponent.
His strike is basically near-instantaneous. He needs this combination of speed and masking, because the technique has an inherent weakness: his attack vectors are incredibly limited. He can, of course, switch to a normal grip, but he loses his speed advantage in doing so. It's still fast, but it's not so-fast-you-never-know-you-were-hit fast.
People know him as 'The Whirlwind', though, because of what he's most famous for. He reserves showing it only to the strongest of the strong, but he has the capability to combine his katana with its sheath: the top of his sheath is notably larger than the rest, and that's because it is specially designed to latch onto the pommel of his sword, creating a staff.
This staff is versatile: he can use it as a spear, for reach, or more accurately, a halberd, thanks to its cutting power and ability to push without piercing. When combining his attack and defense ki into the same object at the same time (this is normally impossible, but he channels one ki into one hand, and another ki into the other hand, and because the staff is one half blade and one half sheath, it works, with them merging together), he suddenly has the speed and strength to take down any opponent he comes across.
Not exactly, but basically. In short, he's an elite warrior, with a ki style that is able to deliver a near-perfect defense, while allowing him to attack with high speed and power from almost anywhere when he's fighting at full strength. He also hides that might, and fights only at the level he needs, maybe not even that level (he will let himself lose intentionally if he doesn't really want to fight), but I haven't worked out his backstory.
Namely, what I need to do to stop him from being too much of a Kenshin clone.
All the same, I love the idea, and think it would be interesting to write about.
...And with that said...I've got work to do. Lots of it.