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The Ultimate WEAPON
by Darrell Whitney


"Do you really think you can scare us with that?" sneered Galt. He was the leader of a gang of thugs that despite their up-to-date Hunter's Guild licenses limited their work to legbreaking and forceful debt collection.

"This is the latest model Photon saber!" Galt's victim challenged, facing his three opponents. He was a big man, but soft around the middle. The green energy blade of his weapon shimmered brilliantly. He had confidence in his saber, which used the most up-to-date Photon technology.

Apparently, though, his enemies did not share his judgment. Galt chuckled, and the two others grinned evilly. All three carried simple steel bars, clubs they used in the process of persuading others to pay what was owed.

"You should have just paid up, buddy-boy," Galt said, slapping his club into his gloved palm. "Now you're going to feel the pain."

He took a step forward, and the intended victim lashed out with the saber in an overhand slash. Galt sidestepped it easily and swung out, cracking the steel bar against the target's forearm in a numbing blow. The man dropped the saber, and the legbreakers moved in for the kill.

A loud clunk, like an out-of-tone bell, or a heavy metal object colliding with a human skull, interrupted the proceedings. Galt turned to see one of his thugs do an uncontrolled fall to the floor.

"What the f--" his other henchman began, but the incipient obscenity was swiftly censored before it could escape his lips as the victim's wife rammed an oversized frying pan edge-on into the thug's stomach. He dropped to his knees, groaning.

"Akiko!" the goons' target cried happily.

Akiko was as broad across the shoulders as her husband, but unlike him her stout body was mostly bone and muscle.

Galt was still trying to figure out what was going on when she backhanded him across the face, knocking him onto his back to contemplate all the pretty stars circling his head.

"Look, you," she told the stunned muscleboys. "Go back to Tonzlar and tell him he'll get his money in two days." No one made any serious objections to this plan.

Akiko's husband, meanwhile, looked at the downed thugs, at his new saber lying next to them, and then up at his wife with her frying pan.

"The ultimate weapon..." he whispered.

"That's nice, dear," Akiko said. "If you're through playing with your friends, let's go home." Ultimate weapon, indeed! she thought with a shake of her head. He'll never learn that it's the fighter, not the weapon, that matters in the end.

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