Once purely fodder for science fiction, a molecule-chain weapon has become merely a farfetched concept that will eventually have to be regulated when it becomes reality in the not-too-distant future.

A molecule-chain weapon is a whip, garrote, flail, or bola made with molecule chain instead of wire or string. It can also be deployed in "trip-wire" form.

A molecule chain is simply that, a chain molecule that is actually long enough to use in the abovementioned applications. One of the earliest uses in fiction involved a character created by Larry Niven. A multimillionare playboy genius named Sinclair invented it, and it became one of the keys to his fabulous riches. Sinclair molecule chain was often used in Niven's Tales of Known Space as a weapon as well as a building material. In one story, a character uses one that had been sewn into his suit with buttons as grips (one would need a grip of some kind on each end to handle such a chain.)

The deadly aspect of molecule chain is that it should act as the proverbial ultimate knife, able to cut through anything with its sub-microscopic thinness and molecular-bond strength. Even a small bundle would be almost impossible to see and ridiculously strong. Think of the ultimate piano wire.

Buckminsterfullerene (C-60, also known as buckyballs) discovered in 1985, promises to bring this speculative device to fruition. . A form of this material, called a buckytube, has already been formed in centimeter lengths. It also has great promise in electronics due to its interesting properties.

If lengths of a meter or more can be formed, it would make a formidable weapon. It would also be as deadly to the user as it would be to a victim, as a poorly-aimed swing would cause the strand to recoil back upon the caster, with disasterous results.

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