Vale heard the sudden roar of the Skymaran as it stuttered to life. The AI turned its head, suddenly realizing she wasn’t the only one on the deck. Before it could change targets, Vale sprinted for it again, taking advantage of its distracted state. Sliding between its legs, she imagined her metal arm turning sharp, and was greeted with a long sword where her shield arm had been a moment ago. Slicing it along its left metal calf, she was rewarded with sparks. As she bounced to her feet behind it, she watched it stumble forward and fall to its knees.
She jumped on its back and climbed onto his shoulders. Steadying her stance, she gripped its neck with her knees, locking them in place, as the AI began to twist wildly underneath her. But as it brought its hand up to try and pry her off, she couldn’t help but laugh. Its metal arms were too wide to grab her. Every design had a flaw. “Having trouble down there?”
Changing tactics, it brought up its flamethrower aiming it at Sky, who had brought the skymaran to a hover on the deck. Sensing a threat, Sky turned to look at them, his eyes wide, his concentration broke, sending the skymaran dropping back onto the deck.
The flamethrower began to glow red, revving up to torch him and their escape along with him. Vale closed her eyes, pictured a double-headed axe and slammed her metal through the AI’s skull as her sword shifted, transforming into a large thin axe. Sparks screamed and the AI’s body crumbled underneath her, sending her to the ground.
Scrambling to her feet, Vale dashed towards the skymaran as Sky brought it to a hover again. “GO!” Vale shouted hearing a set of footsteps behind her. Sky’s eyes were glued to the controls, shooting the skymaran over the side of the ship. Vale ignored her brain’s desire to stop her from hurling herself over the side of the ship and jumped, her body half landing inside of the skymaran, her legs dangling over the side.
Her body suddenly grew heavy and her hands began to slip. An AI had jumped, yanking her down. Vale’s human hand slipped, causing her body to swing outward, out into the open air, giving her a view of the AI and the sky below.
The AI was similar to the ones they saw near the bridge and Vale was thankful that it wasn’t one of the large AI’s. She would have been ripped from the skymaran instantly. But her relief quickly vanished when the AI’s hand wrapped tightly around her leg, crushing tightly. A scream ripped through her as she felt a bone in her leg crack.
She was so surprised by the pain that her metal hand slipped from the skymaran’s side rail. When had the metal turned back into a hand? Vale felt her body begin to fall through the air, sending a combination of thrill and panic through her at her sudden free fall. But she was jolted to a stop and looked up. Sky had wrapped both of his arms around hers. His legs were braced against the rail, trying to keep her from falling. Her metal arm groaned, protesting the tug, the metal and skin screaming in anger as they fought to free themselves from each other, needing relief from the strain.
Sky’s face was scrunched up, eyes closed, veins prominent in his neck, muscles flexed, as he pulled, trying desperately to keep Vale from falling. The skymaran began to tilt, threatening to throw Sky overboard and sending all three of them falling. “Sky!” Vale screamed. His eyes opened, panic clear in them. He knew what she did. He wasn’t strong enough to save her.
“Let me go Sky!” she shouted over the sound of the roaring wind. Her hair flailed wildly around her face sending flashes of darkness into her vision. A small glimpse into her future fate. He shook his head. He glanced down at the AI below her. “It’s holding too tight. I can’t shake it off.” Her hand slipped slightly, the skymaran tilting farther. “Let go or we will both die.”
Sky glanced down then back at the controls. Vale recognized the look on his face. He was processing, taking in his surroundings, looking for an opening, for a path, something he could create. “You can’t build your way out of this Sky. Just let me go!”
His brows furrowed, a muscle working in his jaw. The skymaran tilted more and still, Sky held on. Sky shifted, his back hitting the controls and suddenly the skymaran turned, tilting farther until Sky began to slip. Then in a moment that surprised Vale, Sky let her go, watching her with an unreadable expression as she fell through the air.