Dance of Death
Emily watched the drone enter a ninety-degree dive, looking for all the world like an over-sized lawn dart.
She had never seen one maneuver so violently.
The missile changed direction to compensate, entering a steep dive of its own.
Emily had an intuitive understanding of this dance of death. The pilot guessed the missile would pull lead as it guided to the target. By pointing himself toward the deck at high speed he planned to drive it into the ground. If the Skorpion pulled a lot of lead (that is to say, aimed itself way out in front of its target to intercept) this would have been a perfectly reasonable strategy. Unfortunately for the pilot, the Skorpion had been designed to pull less lead than earlier generation missiles, so as to achieve higher kill probabilities in exactly these kinds of situations.
It caught the drone halfway down the fuselage. Didn’t explode immediately. For a fraction of a moment it appeared to Emily the missile might actually bounce off, then plummet to earth inert and harmless.
Which would have been just her goddamn luck.
But in the next instant a fireball engulfed the drone’s midsection.
The craft snapped in half. The two pieces fell, spiraling around one another as if performing a mating ritual in reverse where the end wasn’t sex but fiery death. The spiral accelerated, the diameter of the revolutions shrank until finally the wreckage slammed into the slum, sending enormous plumes of dirt and debris hurtling skyward.