A sword with a blade made of metal, or the least, it looks metallic, shiny and clean. A sword as old or probably older than our civilization, it has writings on the blade, never seen before, never seen in any part of the world. The sword looks alive, it has eyes of iron or what appear to be iron eyelids, one eye for each side of the crossguard. Upon holding the sword, great pain will surge through the hand and travel upward to the head, a stream of pain like a river flowing through the body, a pain so strong, more than once people have screamed and shouted like children, but when the pain is over, the sword and the swordsman fuse together or, at least, the swordsman becomes a tool of the sword.

It seems the sword will always overwrite the will of the swordsman by following their subconscious ideals and not their external intent and emotions. In the hand of a childish but loving man, the sword will never kill or injure another but only defend its user, even during emotions of vengeance, despairing hatred and frustration. In the hand of a man filled with dread and remorse, in the hand of a broken soul, it will vent and release all the hate within at once and kill anyone, even those they may love and cherish.

This sword can turn a broken hero into a despicable villain and a reluctant criminal into something holy.

When holding the sword for longer, the link between flesh and blade becomes stronger, the limbs move faster, the eyes see faster and the mind thinks faster, time will slow down allowing for more planned strikes and parries. A swordsman who never puts down the sword will hold godly powers, even be able to predict the trajectory of incoming bullets, almost read minds and see the future in simulations in their dreams, but that swordsman will become more and more a weapon and less and less alive.

After days of not holding the sword, the link is broken and the flow of pain will repeat once again when grabbing the sword, as the jealous and affectionate sword punishes you for leaving it.


The sword is a parasite created by the ancient ones, it doesn't come from this planet, the ancient ones never stepped foot on this planet, the sword hit the planet while falling in a semi-destroyed spaceship, a cargo spaceship transporting antiquities for a museum. The reason the cargo was never recovered is unknown, it has been many millennia since the fall. The sword, together with the rest of the cargo was an important piece of their history, now forever lost in this planet. Something must've happened to the old ones if they never came back for the cargo.

How could a living biological sword that attaches to any living being survive for so much, endure so much abuse?


-The sword is a bio-robot, made with genetic coding not with computer coding.

-Whether the sword is conscious and sentient depends on your definition of consciousness, to some people consciousness is an illusion created by intelligence, to others it is the result of intelligence and some even believe it comes from the soul, something separated from flesh. I'm not here to answer that question.

-The sword is a unique masterpiece done by an artisan, it has seen blood and many battles but never used en masse in any war or military force.

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    $\begingroup$ "Parasite," not "parasyte." Just because one preachy manga/anime used the improper spelling, now everybody is doing it. $\endgroup$
    – NomadMaker
    Jul 5, 2021 at 1:26
  • $\begingroup$ Dread, remorse and brokenness are not symptoms of "hate within". $\endgroup$
    – RonJohn
    Jul 5, 2021 at 20:21
  • $\begingroup$ @RonJohn pin point where I mentioned them being such. $\endgroup$
    – Green
    Jul 5, 2021 at 21:27
  • $\begingroup$ @Green certainly! "In the hand of a man filled with dread and remorse, in the hand of a broken soul, it will vent and release all the hate within at once and kill anyone, even those they may love and cherish." $\endgroup$
    – RonJohn
    Jul 5, 2021 at 21:52
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    $\begingroup$ Just to broaden the possibilities: Here on Earth we already have microorganisms that can be frozen for 24,000 years and awake happily safe and sound ("Bdelloid rotifer survives 24,000 years frozen in Siberia") bbc.com/news/science-environment-57386706 $\endgroup$ Jul 6, 2021 at 2:49

6 Answers 6


The sword was stored in the black box

If I understand your post, this is your question:

How can a sturdy metallic artifact survive a crash from space? And how could an artificial, parasitic device survive untouched for so long?

This is maybe not as hard as it sounds.

In the real world, airliners have a device called a Flight Data Recorder (colloquially known as "the black box"), whose purpose is to allow people to figure out why the airplane crashed. Obviously, it can't fulfill that purpose if the crash destroys it.

The solution is actually non-exotic engineering:

  • the device internals are such that the valuable data is stored in a separate component which is itself very sturdy; it's not just regular computer hard drives plugged into a regular motherboard
  • the device is encased in double-wrapped titanium or stainless steel
  • the device is placed in the part of the aircraft that is most likely to survive; that's not the cockpit, it's the tail, or the ceiling of the kitchen (aka "galley"); it varies based on the specifics of each aircraft

If this sword is not just a tool, but a treasured artifact that played an important role in the aliens' history, it seems reasonable that they'd take similar precautions when transporting it.

You don't say why the sword was in the spaceship.

  • If it's the only one they have, why are they moving it? Did they just bring it along to sightsee? Whatever the reason, unless it was literally on display in the spaceship prior to the crash, it was probably stored in a crash-resistant part of the ship, in a protective container, along with other things of similar importance. And if they have the technology to build this sword, they probably have better protective tech than sheets of titanium.

    It's even possible the sword was ejected from the crashing ship in some kind of escape pod, possibly with an escaping alien who later died on the surface of the planet (lack of food, unfriendly atmosphere, hungry wildlife).

  • Or maybe it wasn't the only one they had! Maybe the spaceship was transporting a group of sword-wielding people who each had their own, and this sword is merely the only one that survived (... we think).

As far as the question of it not "dying" over the millennia, I don't think it necessarily follows from its parasitic nature that it will "starve" if unused for a long time.

When real-world tech doesn't get the nutrients it needs (aka electricity), it doesn't lose some "spark of life." Yes, over your timescale, real-world electronics will degrade so badly they can't be used, but that's just because we don't make them out of materials designed to last that long. Importantly, we do build some devices to withstand much more serious abuse: just look at the computers we put into deep-space satellites, which have to withstand the vacuum, intense radiation and cosmic rays. The computer in Voyager 2 is not as fast as your smartphone, but it has already outlived your phone several times over.

So, you can just assert that the sword is made out of very durable materials, and is perfectly sealed against the environment. When held by a host, it wakes from its slumber and draws power from the wielder. When there is no wielder, it returns to its slumber.

Imagine a water wheel made out of stainless steel. If the river dries up for a thousand years, the wheel doesn't "die." When the water returns millennia later, the wheel starts spinning again.

As a non-biological form of life, you don't have to assume it requires any kind of nourishment during periods of slumber. "Slumber" isn't even the right word: if we unplug a real computer, it's not asleep -- it's inert. Thus with the sword. It presumably wouldn't even be conscious of the amount of time that has passed -- every period of waking could be 1 hour, 1 year, 1 eon later. I imagine that one of the first things the sword does when bonding with a new host is to orient itself in time and space.


Sword is a blood drinker!

And lymph drinker. The living sword regenerates itself by sapping the strength of its wielder, Stormbringer style. Even more sap is sipped from people the sword can get the wielder to injure, for good or bad purposes. The sword does not really care as long as there are wounds made. The whole good person bad person thing is a shtick the sword invented to facilitate its main goal of blood and juice to slake its THIRST!

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Blood for the blood sword! The sword cares not from whence the blood flows, only that it flows! $\endgroup$
    – user64888
    Jul 5, 2021 at 4:20
  • $\begingroup$ I was surprised to see that Stormbringer is not a reference to the Book of Swords series by Fred Saberhagen. $\endgroup$
    – Tom
    Jul 5, 2021 at 5:57

The sword is an Old One theater prop. Explains the sword shape. The suppression of consciousness to let the subconscious express itself was intended to help Old One thespians put aside their modern world and connect with the art.

As to how it exists : the living part is packed inside extra-dimensional space inside the atoms of the prop (see The Three Body Problem). This explains both longevity and resistance to pretty much any damage. This might be off-the-shelf Old One electronics.


Simple - you said the sword was

The sword is a bio-robot, made with genetic coding

So I’ll assume you mean cells and DNA. In this case, each “cell” of the sword would presumably have identical and complete copies of the sword’s “genetic information.”

Therefore, as long as any one cell in the sword survives the crash, it will be able to replicate itself (given necessary resources, obviously) and eventually restore the sword to mint condition. Now for surviving thousands of years, the sword could reproduce neumann-machine style, gathering materials to create replicas of itself and so on. The cells could also simply divide to repair the sword as it tarnished over time.

And eventually, it will be picked up again to fulfill its purpose.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Rather neat idea, leads to: if sword gets broken, each piece may be able to regenerate into a new sword. (going through a dagger-phase, then adolescence as a bastard-sword etc..). Welcome to worldbuilding, enjoy our tour and refer to our help center as and when. $\endgroup$ Jul 5, 2021 at 14:57

I am going to split my answer in two parts:

How to "survive" the crash?

If an airplane or a spaceship crashes, its contents will not get pulverized unless its "descent" was meteor-like, maybe the crew / control computer actually tried to do an emergency landing, it just did not go smooth enough for them to survive (if there even was a crew). If the sword is placed in a container with some cushioning, I suspect the damage could be minimal and "heal-able" later on.

How to survive long periods without any contact to other lifeforms?

Hibernation could be a built-in feature of your artifact. It might even change into a more resilient form while hibernating.


The sword has a built-in stress reaction that reconfigures its nano-structure for survival in a bad situation, similar to how some types of bacteria form extremely resistant spores in adverse conditions.

Being wielded causes the sword to break out of its spore-shell and revert to its original configuration.


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