Wild, Wild Red Planet 7

Even before he tried to think of the trajectory he’d need to cut off the fast moving craft, the sword’s computer had already calculated it and projected its ghost across his vision.  His muscles twitched as his feet pounded against the pockmarked roadway.  Holding the sword straight out to one side, the blade flashed along its length.    A thin band of smoke trailed out behind him as he raced towards the side of a three story building.  The screaming of jet engines was barely audible over the throbbing bass howl coming from the sword.

His ribs shaking from the vibrations, Duran drove the blade up into the sky.  The grip on the handle flowed out, wrapping around his fingers and stabilizing his wrists.  The sword fractured and fanned out, giving more surface area for the thrusters.  His shoulders screamed in protest as the weapon shot along the building, pulling him up in its wake.  With his feet mostly pedaling on air, it was hard to keep from losing his balance and striking the side of the wall.

Driven on by the sword’s looming prediction of the aerocar’s position, Duran willed his body to right itself as he neared the top.  The alternating sounds of the jet engines and his own weapon reverberated in his ears and ricocheted through his skull.  He allowed himself a half smile as he planted his right foot on the edge of the roof.  The pilot hadn’t been expecting this.  Leaping straight at the aerocar with the sword spitting strings of flame around his head, Duran screamed half from rage and half from the joy of flying.  The blade flashed down and back around, creating a thunderous clap in the air as it moved impossibly fast.

One half of each jet turbine fell away, neatly bisected down the middle.  Duran’s boots bounced on rigid plastic as he ran over the shell of the central pod.  His vantage point gave him a clear view of the cockpit.  He was surprised to see some kind of robotic remote control assembly instead of a pilot.  He hopped down onto the roof as the aerocar fell out of the sky toward the street below.  As his feet struck down the sword let out a hiss, like it was exhaling or releasing pressure.  The crash of the aerocar ripped through the neighborhood.  Looking back, Duran saw the smoldering remains of the shop he’d just patronized.

Jumping off the side of the building, he held the sword over his head with one hand.  Sections of the blade folded open like leaves or flower petals along its length, catching the air and slowing his descent.  At the last moment, the sword belched flame and his body touched down with only a mild shock.  Duran walked over to the smoking storefront, glass crunching underfoot.  The dome over the chassis had broken open like an egg, giving him easy access to the cockpit.  A mechanical eye rotated to get a look at him as he leaned over it.  Red lights flashed inside and he could see the camera’s lens twisting as it focused in on his face.  He spoke to the machine, hoping its audio capabilities were still functional.

“And that, ladies and gentleman, is why I chose a sword.”

With that he drove the tip into the middle of the camera, twisting the blade to make sure the vital components were damaged beyond repair.  Lifting the sword above his head, the weapon collapsed down, folding in on itself until it was an interlocking series of plates barely as long as his arm.  Bending to match the contours of his spine, it settled against his coat and latched on.

As he turned to go, he saw the name ‘Ares Corp.’ stamped on the side of the ruined camera.  He’d have to figure out who was behind this, but that was a problem for another day.  For now, he was glad to be leaving this city and its Forge behind.  That reminded him, he needed to write himself a note so he never came back here.  He’d wait until he got to the edge of the city.  For now he wanted to keep his eyes open.  Surely he wouldn’t forget by then.  Duran Grey walked down the sidewalk, west into the setting sun.  Behind him, the disappointing moon was reaching for the opposite horizon.

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