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Lyka (laɪkɑ)

After the development of (hard) light technology, people across the galaxy begun exploring it for possible uses. As a building material? To make bridges which could quickly be retracted and then reformed? To shield their vehicles during space travel? All sorts of options were available. But it were the humans of Earth who first came up with lykas: knives made out of hard light, which could be turned off to be left with a single hilt. More convenient (and safer!) to carry than traditional knives, these prototypes also would never dull, though they could run out of battery. They called these knives LK's: Light Knives. Pronounced as "lyka", this name eventually stuck for the invention, even as it was developed further, commercialized, and reinvented into a thousand and one different forms.
Drawing of a knife with a leather-wrapped hilt. The blade is transparent hard light, and is bleeding wisps of energy from the top.
by DarkNymfa
A vyka, showing their unusual tendency to 'bleed', leaking Vita energy from the blade.

Utility

Lykas are used for just about anything regular knives are used for, depending on the type. As machetes to cut through thick vegetation, to prepare food, as weapons, and so forth. They are widely liked over regular blades mostly as they don't need to be sharpened, and they're safer to carry as the blade can be deactivated and locked.
Unfortunately, their use as weapons has also made them an appealing option for use in crime, especially since deactivating the blade also gets rid of any traces of blood or such. Lykas with adjustable blade lengths also make it even harder to identify a stab wound as caused by a specific weapon, and outside of high-power lykas, which run so hot that they cause burns on contact, it is impossible to tell if an injury is caused by a lyka or an ordinary blade.

Manufacturing

There are many types of lykas, built in many styles and with many methods. The most critical part is the hard-light technology, built with specific emitters to control the formed hard-light. These can theoretically be built by anyone, however. A lyka could thus be built by anybody with a small enough (and functional) hard-light generator.

Social Impact

Lykas have largely replaced regular knives due to their convenience, though those who regularly find themselves in bad conditions (like explorers, researchers, criminals) often also carry normal blades as back-up. A lyka might never dull, but once it runs out of batteries you're left with just a hilt. Carrying replacement batteries might solve this, but only for as long as your spares last.
In normal circumstances, however, lykas are typically preferred. No cross-contamination while preparing food, no sharp blade to cut a child (provided you turn it off and lock the safety), no hazardous sharpening the blade, and you only need to remember to charge it regularly! And even that isn't all that often, with the quality of batteries in the modern day.
Parent Technologies
Inventor(s)
Humans
Access & Availability
Widely available due to its commercialization; specific forms may be more exclusive, based on their inventors and manufacturers.
Complexity
Beyond the use of hard-light technology, not many more complicating factors had to be introduced to build lykas. Some specific variants are more complex, but the base models are fairly simple.
Discovery
With the invention of hard-light, a boom of inventing took place, with people across the galaxy searching for ways to best utilize this new technology. Among them were the humans who make the first lykas, though they simply called them "LK's", as an abbreviation for Light Knives.
Related Items
Drawing of three knives, with transparent hard light instead of metal blades.
by DarkNymfa
An illustrated guide to lykas.

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Cover image: by DarkNymfa

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