Wind tore at his clothing and howled in his ears. He was spinning out of control. Throwing his arms and legs out, the buildings stopped orbiting around him. Looking up, he saw the helicopter peeling away, looking for a place to land that wasn’t bristling with anti-aircraft guns. Looking down, Duran saw the ground rapidly approaching. He just passed the top floor of the Ares Corp. building when he heard the first crack of gunfire.
The anti-air guns were using tracers, which made it too easy for his sword’s computer to track the incoming bullet trajectories. The handle hummed eagerly as his fingers reached back for it. The blade had been waiting, and roared off his back. Shockwaves tore through his arms and sparks twisted through the air around him with each bullet the sword blocked.
Down below, a flash of fire and billowing smoke told him they’d launched a missile. His sword danced in front of him, alternating between dragging him down faster and slowing his fall almost to a stop as its microscopic jets flared in unison. The incoming missile was single minded in its application of thrust. The scream of its engines increased in pitch as it raced closer.
Blinding orange light ripped through the air around him. The sword tore him out of the missile’s path faster than it could hope to follow. The sword spun around his body, moving faster than his thoughts. A halo of sparks shot out around his head. The bottom half of the missile, the part with the engine, spiraled free, cartwheeling through the sky.
The top half of the weapon continued on and then froze for a moment before the tip of the nose started to turn towards the ground. The missile was much more aerodynamic than Duran, so by the time he was halfway to the ground, it was passing him. Bullets whined through the air around him, but he was using the sword to slice diagonally through the air. The weapons below couldn’t track his unpredictable zig-zags.
The pleasant lawns of the Ares grounds, marred only by their defensive weaponry, were getting too close for comfort. The defenders had seen the free-falling warhead too late, they couldn’t bring their guns to bear fast enough. They abandoned their weapons and dove behind whatever cover they could find.
The missile hit the ground, sending out a ripple through the grass. By the time the thud reached Duran’s ears, he could see the gouts of red, orange, and yellow devouring foliage and anti-aircraft weapons. The shockwave reached up and hit him in the next instant. He could feel his bones vibrating. His sword spun around in a circle, turning the world around him into a smear of different colors. The massive downdraft slowed his fall and blocked some of the heat from the explosion. Duran held on with both hands as tight as he could.
The sword wouldn’t let him go either, the handle flowed like putty between his fingers and into every crevice in his hands. Microscopic barbs snared him, creating so much friction he couldn’t have let go if he’d tried. The sword couldn’t do anything about his shoulders though. His arms felt like they’d pop out of his sockets.
He hit the ground hard, letting go with his left hand by the time the shock of the impact had reached his knees. The sword swung out to his right side and a little behind him by the time it came to a stop.