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The Boxed Sword:

By Jake Combs All Rights Reserved ©

Action / Scifi

A Short Story of Syn

More than a lifetime ago, long before he became a hunter by the name of Snake, the man known as Syn was celebrating the birth of his daughter Zila. His wife Michone was resting comfortably as he paced the living room with his little girl in his arms, singing to her quietly. By watching him, no one would know he had an uncanny knack at aggravating those around him, and in his business an angry man is a deadly one. He was a man that refused to tolerate idiocy with a low tolerance for anyone’s bullshit, anyone that is except for his wife. She had a tendency of going out of her way to push his buttons and he loved every moment of it.

The movements from the other room woke her from her slumber so she sleepily stepped into the dark room. She smiled as she watched the two interact, hearing her coo and him mimic the sound right back to her. She found it amusing that the first time he ever spoke to her, he only did so after killing two men in front of her and here he was talking to her and no one had to die.

A half hour passed before their daughter had fallen asleep and Syn placed her gently in her crib.

“You coming to bed baby?” Michone asked from the doorway.

“Can’t. The High Lords have a new project they want me to start on, some sort of high powered rifle with specialty rounds.”

“Don’t they understand you just had a baby, she’s only a week old? You need to have more than just a couple of hours to yourself and your family. You’ve slept maybe two hours per night cycle.”

“They only care about their results.”

“Fuck their results. They keep you working like this they’ll burn you out.”

“I love you babe,” he said as he kissed her fiercely.

“Don’t forget your pistol,” she reminded as headed for the door of the small dwelling.

“I never cared for the damn things. The knife will be good enough,” he told her as he affixed the eight inch blade to his belt.

“Just be careful, Liwin swore he was going to kill you after last week’s meeting.”

“I will babe,” he told her as he closed the door behind him.

The lights of the station were dimmed to reflect the night cycle of the planet below, he preferred it this way. During the day cycles the lights were harsh and made his tired eyes hurt. Thirty minutes of walking led him to his office, with two men standing at attention.

“Evening Gren, Vik. Have we received the design specs they promised?”

“The documents were delivered an hour ago, sir,” Gren informed his employer.

“Are they on my desk?”

“Of course sir.”

Syn descended a short flight of stairs that led to his private lab; beakers lined the wall to his left, various chemicals in several sealed bottles. Case of bullets and various electronic components sat to his right and in the center of the room was a large drawing table where a large envelope rested. The specifications within called for a large assault rifle capable of firing pure plasmic energy, something that his rival designers had been fighting over. The failed designs within told the story of nine years of failure, each version resulting in fires, deaths and melted equipment. He laughed at some of the names he had seen that attempted to make the designs work, knowing that they weren’t nearly talented enough to handle the task at hand.

Removing a small tablet from a drawer at his desk, he began sketching four barrels and the attached mechanism that allowed them to rotate around each other with fine point rubberized stylus. He connected a cable to the small handheld device and within seconds a three dimensional replica of his drawer floated before his eyes. He rotated the image and toyed with the gears. The problem with the designs that had failed was the energy overheated the barrels after two shots, it seemed almost a simple solution; increase the number of barrels to allow the barrel time to cool between shots. He quickly drew a latching mechanism that sealed the feeding tubes he had just completed drawing.

Entering in a simple code the barrels began to increase speed as they spun into place, latched and rotated out again. As the speed tests concluded he began running general fluids through the design to test for leaks. Three seals later and he designed one that could handle the speed and fluid transfer without any loss. He had to deign seven more that could handle the heat transfers needed to properly wield plasmic energy.

Several hours of further designs he could feel himself starting to drift in and out of consciousness. He saved the data into a storage device embedded into his wrist before closing his lab.

"Morning sir," a replacement officer said as he locked the door behind Syn.

"What time did you take over for Gren?" he yawned.

"Five hours ago sir."

"Tomorrow let me know when you make the switch."

"Of course sir."

Syn began his walk to his families' hab unit but in his sleepless haze he made a couple wrong turns and found himself at a dead end.

"The all mighty Syn forget where he lives?" came a voice from behind him. He drunkenly spun around to see two men wearing security uniforms wielding stun batons.

"Who the hell do you two think you're talking to?" he slurred his words as he drew his blade from his belt.

"Our orders aren't to kill you; we just need the memory core. We know you carry it with you."

Syn patted his pockets and shrugged. “Guess I didn’t bring it with me. Must be at the lab.”

“Then lead us there and you will live, try anything and we won’t mind ending your life.”

“That would be hard with a knife in your gut.” In one fluid motion Syn removed the blade from his hip and sent it airborne, burying the knife into the heart of the silent ‘officer’.

As he closed the distance on the remaining man, he scooped up the fallen baton smashed into the bridge of his nose with enough force to knock him onto the ground.

“Who are you working for?” Syn asked, choking the man with the baton.

“Liwin, it was Liwin,” he cried out.

“How much was he paying you?”

“Three thousand credits.” Syn began laughing.

“I’ll give you thirty and you get to keep your life,” Syn offered. The man struggled against the hard metal baton at his throat but managed to nod in agreement.

An hour later the two men arrived at his competitor’s home with Syn in chains and gagged with torn fabric from the other hired thug.

Liwin greeted them in the arched doorway of his home, “I wanted the memory core not the bastard.”

“He claims not to have it. I’ve searched him and he’s clean.”

“Did you toss the lab?”

“Of course, it wasn’t there. He must have had a drop somewhere that you didn’t tell us about.”

The weapons designer removed the gag from Syn’s mouth. “So where is it?”

“You should be less concerned with the memory core and more worried about what will happen when I’m free of these chains.”

“And what do you think you will do?” At that instant the unsecured chains fell to the floor and Syn placed his hands around the man’s neck squeezing the life from him.

“I’m going to watch as the light fades from your eyes.” He did just that and at the moment Liwin asphyxiated Syn snapped his neck to be certain.

“I better not see you ever again,” Syn told the man. The man nodded out of fear.

Syn returned to his home shortly after to find his wife making breakfast, the smells of greasy meats and salted eggs frying in the pan pierced his nostrils and his brain, waking him from his near slumber. His stomach growled at the thought of food. He went to the refrigeration unit and removed a bottle of water and sat at the table. Michone placed the plate of food next to his water and when into the adjoining room, coming back with a long white box with a blue ribbon tied around the middle.

She leaned in and gave him a kiss on the cheek. “Happy birthday baby,” she said as she handed him the package.

“It’s not for two more days,” he informed her with a smile.

“Take a look at your chronometer, it’s today.”

He did as instructed and realized she was correct. “Bloody hell. I’m spending so much time in the lab I don’t even know what day it is.”

She sat with him as he enjoyed his breakfast before she began insisting he unwrapped the gift before he could catch up on some much needed sleep.

“If you won’t carry a gun, at least carry something that gives you more of a reach,” she told him as he stared at the elegant sword. He turned it over and immediately noticed the etched ‘M’ on the blade as well as a pressure switch in the hilt.

He was curious about the switch and depressed it, causing the blade to segment and become a bladed whip. Depressing the switch again he watched as each segment was retracted until the sword was whole again.

He thanked his wife and took his much needed rest, unaware that he would cross paths again with the would-be thief but that is a tale for another time.



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