Wild, Wild Red Planet 4

The weapon was Forge made, and very pure.  When a Foundry exhausted its potential, a Forge was what was left.  Forges could create and regulate nanotech like you would’ve found on Ol’ Blue.  These mercenaries were well armed.  Someone high up the food chain must be directing them.  Most of the time Earth tech was used to make parts that were assembled into something useful, like a gun or a car.  Duran had only seen a few other devices that actually ran on the nanotechnology before.  Usually they were very finicky and would fall apart or become inert if they got too far away from the Forge that created them.  No matter what engineers tried to do nowadays, they could never match the capabilities of a pure, untouched Foundry.

The rest of the mercs drew their weapons.  The small arsenal they were packing was worth a fortune.  Hundreds of people could’ve been fed for months with the energy and resources needed to make them.  Duran’s CPU wasn’t able to make heads or tails of them.  Not surprising, since they hadn’t existed until they’d been made.  He made a mental note to avoid this city in the future.  Hopefully he’d remember long enough for him to type it up later, or else he knew he’d forget.  Whoever was running the Forge here was not to be trifled with.

Duran raised his hands like he was giving up.  The mercs were still leery, but they knew what kind of weapons they were carrying, so his reaction probably wasn’t completely unexpected.  He let his right hand drift closer to the back of his neck, where it touched something that looked like a metal centipede hugging his spine all the way down his back.  Responding to his fingers, the metal broke apart, jumping off his body and leaping into his hand.

Whipping his arm straight out to the side, the strange metal reformed in the blink of an eye.  Gripped between his fingers was a smooth handle and shooting out from that was a massive sword blade, almost three meters long and a third of a meter wide.  Thin streams of smoke shot off the weapon, accompanied by a low, whining hum.  Thousands of microscopic jets held up the blade, responding to his slightest movement, to his very thoughts.

When he’d stumbled up to the Foundry years ago and it’d mysteriously activated, he’d been filled with wonder.  The same wonder he used to feel every night when his father told him stories of brave knights from the days when Ol’ Blue was young.  Maybe that was why when he’d stuck his hand into the symphony of lights, he’d pulled out a sword.  Or maybe that’s what it’d already been programmed to make.  Or maybe it was dumb luck.  Whatever the reason, he’d had people hunting him ever since.  They all wanted him to repeat the miracle, or to cut him open and find out why it’d happened.  They wanted to know why the Foundry had opened for him when so many hundreds or thousands of others had left disappointed.  They couldn’t accept that he didn’t have any answers.  He hadn’t planned it, didn’t control it, and couldn’t repeat it.  Everyone was after something different: a new city, a new weapon, even a way back to Earth.  Even worse than that was all the grief he got about the sword.  Why not a gun, or a suit of indestructible armor, or a spaceship?

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