Author : Duncan Shields, Staff Writer

The sensor charges go off and for a second I become a percussion instrument for the Devil.

I’m wreathed in black smoke and dropping like a stone. Explosions kick me like excited children. I’m a trillion-dollar pinball of curled-up offensive weaponry plummeting towards the enemy with the wrath of god in storage.

There’s sudden silence as I pass beneath the flakfield I was designed to penetrate. The air rushes by, whistling through the feathers of shrapnel embedded in my hull.

I unball and snap open the wingspread. Screaming with delight, I pull a tight three-gee loop in defiance of the enemy and in pure celebration of life.

I look left and right through amped senses to check out limb integrity.

A quick diagnostic reveals an acceptable level of damage.

I transform from a rock into an arrow pointed down.

The last of the clouds snap past me and my ocular facets becomes a rainbow of targets flowering towards me. Incoming priorities overlaid on city blocks and towers. Starpoints with missiles in the middle are getting larger as I look at them. Contrails are forming a spiderweb in the sky with me at the center. The city below me sends its best.

It’s too complicated to take in with my primary brain so I dump a priority comp request through and feel the jabs, waking up the other two brains. My ego dissolves and I become trajectories, vectors and tracepoints.

Even my memory fades. The only time I remember this state of mind is in my dreams during testing and repairs.

The city is a dartboard and I am headed for the bullseye.

It’s with a high whine that I pulse the accelerator. Two mach-donuts of ruptured air smash out from my tailfins. Windows shatter in the top floors of the towers below me as the sonic booms hit them twice.

I pull horizontal just above the tip of the tallest tower. The missiles aimed at me adjust accordingly.

I spin, turning the exhaust streams of sixty-eight cruise missiles behind me into basket weavers. My twinjets leave a dna helix of superheated gas.

I am flying flat now with a pet arsenal of enemy ordnance at my disposal. Automated defenses are so stupid.

I take a wide left and circle back towards the tip of the building that’s worth the most points.

I crank up an old recording of Marilyn Monroe singing Happy Birthday Mr. President as I fly straight towards the top floor.

He’s looking out the window. I couldn’t ask for more. I zoom in on his widening eyes as he takes in what’s happening. He moves in slow motion and I have entire tenths of a second to take in the picture.

I’m an angel chased by suns reflected in the glass he’s standing behind.

With a smile, I spread my wings again, wide, to brake.

I stop before nuclear fire overtakes me and I become Daedalus and Icarus rolled into one.

I’m a record cover for a second. Then I’m burning atoms.

Mission accomplished.

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