The whole town was shaking. At first he thought it was some kind of bomb, but then he realized it was just sound. Lots and lots of sound. Every speaker in town was blared the same overwhelming noise reverberation. It was all Duran could do not to let go of his sword and cover his ears. By the way the helicopter rocked from side to side and the gunfire cut off, the headphones inside the gunships must be blasting the same sound.
Shifting the sword to his left hand and sweeping it up into the air, he let the thrust of the blade carry him up along the side of the wall. His feet skipped across the rough pressed stone and he could see the faces of one of the townspeople go wide with shock through a window as he passed.
As he kicked off the edge of the roof, the sword flared brightly. Duran shot through the air like an arrow and a wave of blistering heat washed over him. With a thud, he landed on the nose of the nearby helicopter. Through the transparent, rock-hard polymer, he could see the pilot tearing at his headset, trying to get the painful noise away from his eardrums.
The sword cut through rays of sunlight, scattering brilliance as it sliced the hinges of the canopy to pieces. Grabbing one edge, Duran tore the cover free and threw it behind him. It twisted in the wind as it fell towards the ground. Duran almost lost his balance, but the sword’s jet’s flared to compensate.
By this time, the pilot had the headphones off. The noise spilling out of them was so loud Duran could hear it clearly over the wind. The man reached for a sidearm, but Duran’s free hand lashed out and he struck him in the face. While he was stunned, Duran reached in and pulled the emergency eject lever. Smoke, light, and heat exploded around him. Duran leaned back, trusting the sword to keep him from falling. The pilot shot helplessly into the atmosphere and Duran dove forward to grab the control stick before the ship could get even further out of control.
The sound of high caliber gunfire made him risk craning his neck to look back. The third gunship had just finished an attack run on the building next to Gent’s bar. The walls were pockmarked with bullet holes that leaked red dust like blood into the air. Duran pushed the stick back all the way, and the nose of the craft shot up into the air, almost launching him forward into empty space.
Duran’s captured ship shot backwards, right at the passing enemy craft. The other pilot saw the new danger too late. He tried to veer out of the way, but the tail of Duran’s near vertical craft slammed into one of his engines. Metal ground on metal and flaming shards of propeller blades flew inches from Duran’s face. The two ships fell toward the ground like stones, twisted together in a burning embrace.
His legs coiled underneath him. Duran kicked off the nose of the ship and let go of the control stick at the same time. Wind tore at his body as he tumbled end over end. His sword’s jets flared off and on in a dozen different directions, trying to right him before he hit the ground.
The thrusters slowed his fall enough that when he stuck Mars, he wasn’t immediately squished. Bouncing across a field, the sword’s edges dulled themselves so he wasn’t chopped to pieces as he rolled to a stop. Pulling himself to his feet, Duran barely had time to lift the sword up and drive the point into the ground before the crashed aircrafts exploded. Fire and metal ricocheted off the blade.