As soon as the ‘help’ button was pressed, a holodisplay popped up, complete with an animated menu and digital voice. “Congratulations on your purchase of an Exotech Inc. US-7 Utility Sword. The Exotech Inc. US-7 Utility Sword is designed for brush-cutting, display, sword-dancing, ceremonies, and garden use. Use of the Exotech Inc. Utility US-7 Sword in contravention of the End User Agreement will result in voiding the limited warranty. By unsheathing the Exotech Inc. US-7 Utility Sword, you agree to be bound by the terms of the license contained within.”

“How can I agree to be bound by the license when I have to unsheathe the sword to read it?” said Percival.

“Query cannot be processed. Warning: use of the Exotech Inc. US-7 Utility Sword as a utensil or carving knife can result in heavy metal poisoning. Contact the nearest Poison Control Center if you serve or have been served food with an Exotech Inc. US-7 Utility Sword. Do not lick the blade.”

“I don’t care about any of that, goddammit! Just tell me how to use it!” Noises and shapes were growling closer, perhaps drawn by the whispered argument Percival was having with the sword’s basic AI.

“Do not attempt to use the Exotech Inc. US-7 Utility Sword as a weapon. Any attempt at offensive or defensive action will result in an automated call to our friendly network of service centers and a voided warranty.”

“What? Whoever heard of a sword not meant for combat?” Percival said, incredulous.

“Query cannot be processed. Due to its high heavy metal content, use of the Exotech Inc. US-7 Utility Sword is a violation of domestic and international standards regarding safe workplace environments and war crimes. Use of the Exotech Inc. US-7 Utility Sword in an improper manner may lead to charges being filed with the International Criminal Court.”

“Just…just give me a demo of the brush-cutting feature!” Percival cried. They were almost upon him as he argued with his only weapon.

“Brush not detected. Proceed?”

“Yes, yes! Proceed!”

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