A Fighting Staff is a form of melee weapon favored by characters who wish to carry a silent but effective weapon yet not appear to be visibly armed. It consists of a metal cylinder 10 cm in length with a single activation toggle. When the toggle is pressed, the weapon releases itself, becoming the equivalent of a 2 meter long quarterstaff. The opening/collapsing function of a fighting staff is powered by a SEU minidisc, which is good for 100s of openings and closings before needing replacement.
A character seen to be using a fighting staff may draw attention from authorities, but generally there are no laws specifically regulating or forbidding them.
A similar, but more advanced/versatile weapon is a fighting staff that incorporates a small energy weapon into one end. Such a weapon is often referred to as a "force lance". Because it must incorporate the mechanisms for the small energy weapon, a force lance cannot collapse as completely as a fighting staff, and is approximately 31 cm long in retracted mode. Considered somewhat impractical for frontline battles, Force lances are frequently used as "light" or "dress" duty weapons and by bodyguards and by special agents who like having the silent weapon option in addition to a firearm..
The energy weapon is equivalent to an electrostunner set on blast, and has approximately the same range. Because of it's smaller dimensions, a force lance may only use minipowerclips, limiting it to five shots before the clip must be replaced.
The fighting staff image is of a Minbari Fighting Pike (source unknown). The Force Lance is inspired by the ones in Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda. The image is from rschulte at the Renderosity site. The author has released it for public use.