Alexthefly asks for: Day 25: Storm with Kayo
Kayo was feeling on top of the world.
The last mission she'd gone on had been even more successful that she and Penny had thought possible. Some very bad men were now mouldering in a GDF prison and were unlikely to be freed.
She flipped Shadow through a series of loops and barrel rolls. And if she whooped in the privacy of the cockpit for the sheer joy of flying in the clear blue above the snowy ground, well, no one was here to comment.
A particularly superb combo had Kayo, eyes closed tightly, screaming in delight, but a low, dry chuckle broke through her concentration.
Scott's holo floated above her control panel. He was clearly delighting in her joy, and she grinned back at him, not at all embarrassed to have been caught out. Scott, out of all of them, would understand the thrill of clear blue and success.
Laughs 'Oh yes!'
'Well, I am about to ruin your fun, I'm afraid.'
'Five is still out for upgrades but John sent down a message before they went totally offline. There's a massive cold front heading your way.'
'FAB Scott. I'll reign myself in and get going.'
'Stay on the comms, Kayo, please. Just to be on the safe side since John can't monitor you accurately.'
'Aww, Scott. Anyone would think you were worried! It's not like you can't track me from the island.'
'True, but the weather where you are is notorious for sudden changes and while the Island can track you without Five if you hit a storm the signal will be patchy. Kayo – I'm serious. The front is heading your way fast and is big, it's possible you may not outrun it.'
'I'll be careful, I promise. Wanna fill me in on what everyone's been up to while I've been gone?'
Scott's sudden seriousness calmed her right down. Although he could be a right Smotherhen, he rarely displayed that regarding flying. They were a family of pilots after all, so she took his warning to heart.
As she listened to Scott fill her in on the Tinies latest exploits she downloaded data from CATCH and plotted how she was going to get around the coming storm. But the data was not good. The front was progressing fast, and CATCH was showing it turning into a thunderstorm.
Shadow could outfly the storm once she was high enough, but the front was far too big for her to fly around.
The air was already changing around her. She was not in the best place for this, flying over the Great Lakes could be hazardous, but Kayo was committed to it now. She throttled back and aimed Shadow for the top of the clouds.
'Er, Kayo? Everything alright?'
Oh damn, she'd been so intent on the weather that she'd forgotten Scott was talking to her. Kayo threw him a smile to try and hide the worry she was suddenly feeling.
'Everything's fine, Scott. Storm is moving fast and it looks like I'll have to fly up and over rather than around. Even with Shadow's speed I don't think I can safely outrun it.'
'K..y? .a.. ag..n.'
'Scott? Scott, you're breaking up. Say again?'
'Crap. This is not good. Scott or John, if you can hear me I'm about to fly over the top of the storm front. It's quite high. I repeat, I'm about to fly over the storm.'
'..y. D… ..y …r.'
And the comms went dead.
The sky had darkened in a matter of seconds, and even with Shadow's speed Kayo found herself being badly buffeted by stray gusts. She hadn't pulled up fast enough and was already flying through the clouds rather than in front of them.
And then it began to snow.
With the comms dead the cockpit was silent and the snow seemed to just add to it. Kayo bit her lip as she drove Shadow upwards. But the clouds seemed without end and she was getting disorientated. Her instruments weren't reading right! What was going on?
And then the clouds lit up in the brightest burst of lightning Kayo had ever seen.
There was no source to it and the lightning just seemed to bounce around the clouds, blinding her with every flash and confusing her further. Shadow's gyro was all over the place but Kayo was sure she was still heading up.
And then the lightning hit her 'bird.
Shadow shuddered. Kayo frowned. Brains had lightning-proofed and shielded all their ships, her 'bird should be able to take this!
Lightning struck again.
And on the fourth strike Shadow died.
Unlike her sisters Shadow could be held in a glide, but with the winds buffeting her so badly Kayo found herself spinning one way and then another as she struggled to hold her 'bird in some semblance of level.
She was going down. Fast.
Kayo hit the emergency beacon and comms.
'Mayday! Mayday! May-day! This is Thunderbird Shadow. I'm in a thundersnow storm and have been repeatedly hit by lightning and am going down. Repeat. Mayday! Mayday! May-Day!'
She set the message to repeat and concentrated on at least attempting to glide to the ground. Her beloved 'bird fought every inch of the way but in the end the storm won. Kayo said a silent prayer to her mother and got ready to crash.
Instead of hitting the ground, though, Shadow hit the water. The impact drove the air from Kayo's lungs as she was thrown forward, her head connecting with the panel.
'Please, not Lake Superior,' was the last thought she had before unconsciousness claimed her.
'Er, Kayo? Everything alright?'
He could tell Kayo was distracted, which was fine, she had a lot to do. And then she threw him a smile. Scott could tell she was worried, despite the words coming from her mouth.
'Eve..yth…'s f..e, ..ott. Sto.. .. mov… fast … ..oks li.. …. ha.. .. fly up … …. ra…r t..n ….nd.'
'Kayo? I can't hear you. Say again.'
'Sc…? Sc…, ….re bre…ng up. S.. ….?'
'Cr….. …. ood.'
'Kayo! Don't fly…'
But whatever else he wanted to say died on his lips as the comms went dead.