For the A to Z Blogging Challenge, I'm posting alphabetically on things related to Shayla's world from my (unpublished) novel, Ghosts of Innocence...
I've already posted about a couple of specific, and exotic, kinds of weapons in Shayla's world. This post is about the more generally-used weaponry.
The commonest weapon is the particle beam. Coming in all sizes from hand-held pistols to heavy ship- or ground-mounted batteries, a beam weapon emits focused pulses of charged particles. The effect is a bit like a precisely-controlled lightning bolt.
For really heavy offense, large warships sometimes mount plasma cannon, which spit a glob of high energy plasma. This is the decisive weapon of the Imperial Sword-class battleships, which can level whole cities in a single blast.
Electromagnetic shields provide defense against both types of weapons. When beam meets shield, it's a simple trial of strength. To get around this, projectile weapons are still a useful addition to your armory. Shields cannot protect you from brute physical assault.
From an assassin's point of view, beam pistols have two drawbacks: they are noisy, and a beam discharge can be detected and traced from miles away. Shayla regards them as a weapon of last resort, preferring a blade or bare hands for close-quarters work, and a needle gun for distance. Her needle gun holds a formidable chemical armory of drugs and poisons.
A needle gun is not something an ordinary citizen would ever carry, so in situations where she might be searched, Shayla favors a low-tech blowtube to deliver her needles. On Magentis, she carries a tiny blowtube and a small selection of needles concealed inside the cover of a religious book.