Duran focused in on a small logo on the chassis of a robot. The area automatically zoomed in, magnified by the sword. It was a red fist grabbing a globe with the words “Ares Corp.” stenciled underneath. Duran simultaneously felt better and worse. He remembered that whoever was behind the Ares Corporation had a fetish for remote controls, so artificial intelligence and the robot apocalypse was not upon him. But that just meant there was a homicidal maniac controlling the robots instead.
The laser sights from the robot he was facing met in a single bright red dot on his chest. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the other robot was targeting him as well. Duran’s fingers twisted tighter on the sword handle. He knew his palms were sweating, but the grip felt perfectly dry. Probably some kind of anti-sweat nanotechnology that he couldn’t even begin to understand.
The robot’s gun barrel flashed, and before he heard the shot, the sword was already reacting to his will. The entire blade flared orange as every jet fired at the same time, yanking his body a foot to the side and out of the bullets’ paths. His vision spun as he came to a stop. The sound of the shots reached him just as he saw the robot in front of him explode in a shower of sparks. Its central body buckled, sending shards of metal and strange liquids spilling onto the red ground.
Spinning around, he saw the second robot had gotten off easier. The friendly fire had pierced a hole through the upper right corner of its torso. The jagged wound was shooting sparks and one of its arms seemed to be inoperable, but its gun was still working. Ducking low, Duran’s legs pumped as he tore his way through the dust.
The sword sputtered and flared, the tip slicing a trail along the ground behind him. The red laser sights flashed in his eyes, blinding him. He whipped his arm forward and the sword shot back and forth in front of his body. Each pass was accompanied by a flash of sparks as the dense blade deflected a bullet.
Kicking up into the air and twisting as he did, the sword spiraled through the storm. As his feet touched down again, the sword breathed out burnt dust and smoke. The robot fell apart in three neatly divided sections. It wasn’t until each one hit the ground that all the electronic guts spilled out. Duran used one foot to toe through the wreckage. He couldn’t really make heads or tails of the complex circuitry, even with the sword’s computer analyzing all the different components.
As he lifted the sword up over his head, the weight shifted back and forth as the blade splintered and latched onto his back. Even though the mystery of how the robots had gotten this far out into the wilderness had him worried, he took comfort in the fact that he was too far out for reinforcements to quickly track him down. Duran pulled a tattered brown scarf out of his pocket and started wrapping it around his face. At one time, long ago, it’d been white.