Bright Red Dot 3

Obviously this nanotech capsule hadn’t activated as planned during the Martian colonization, otherwise there would be a high-tech city here instead of a rusted desert.  It was shaped kind of like a ten foot tall egg, but with a circular depression on top.  Duran knew that the sealed hatch could twist open in an instant, spilling rainbow colored light from a blinding core.  He didn’t know what that light was, but everyone else on this red rock seemed to think he had the inside track, probably because he was the only one alive who’d seen it.  Hence the robots.

They were circling around the inert Foundry.  Duran put his back up against it and held the sword in two hands.  The Foundry felt strange against his back.  He knew that was because of the nanotexturing.  Every single molecule had been carefully laid out just so.  It shone like polished metal but it had enough friction that he didn’t slide as he leaned back.  The creepiest part was that it didn’t seem to transfer any heat, so it didn’t feel cool like metal usually does.

Duran knew that his back was well protected.  Pretty much the only thing tougher than his sword was a Foundry.  The guns the robots were packing couldn’t leave a mark, let alone do any actual damage.  With the red dust scratching at every inch of him, Duran thought the sword felt a little sluggish in his hands.  Maybe the thousands of microscopic jet engines that held it up were getting clogged.  Or maybe he was just imagining things.

He could see the triple laser sights of each robot well before the machines themselves were visible.  The dust wasn’t doing them any favors either.  It was probably messing with their systems.  Reaching up with one hand, Duran pulled a pair of goggles into place.  It didn’t really help him see any better, but it kept the stinging dust out of his eyes.

Following behind the red lines of light, visible in the dust-choked air, were the machines.  They stalked slowly, their movements made awkward by the guns deployed on their shoulders.  Duran held the sword out to his side, opposite the dead Foundry.  He could protect himself from one attacker, but not without leaving himself vulnerable to the other.

His sword’s computer was modeling everything around him, adding in wire frames to his heads-up-display for objects hidden behind the growing dust storm.  He was ready for everything, except what actually happened.  One of the robots spoke.

“Put down your weapon and surrender.”

The voice was warbling and electronic, but loud enough to cut through the wind.  When he didn’t respond, the other robot spoke.

“Put down your weapon and surrender, this is your last warning.”

He’d never had a robot talk to him before.  The situation was more than a little disturbing.  These machines were incredibly advanced.  Between changing their shape, tracking him over uneven terrain, and now talking, they obviously used a lot of nanotech and micro processing.  Duran didn’t have a clue how they were still active this far from a city.  Anything based on nanotechnology needed a regulating signal from the Forge at the heart of a city to stay operational for very long.  The only exception he’d ever seen was his sword—at least until now.

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