A/N: This is a prologue. Its entire purpose is to show you how my friend and I get from Point A to Point B. So, there is no FFVII-ness in this particular 'chapter'. But, if you can tough this one out, I can guarantee you the next one will ;). Also, this is an alternate Earth where Final Fantasy does not exist. Terrifying, I know.
Edited on 17 Sept 2010 for grammar and sucky goofs.
The cool wind blew my hair gently as I stared up at the sky with dull eyes. Even the wind seemed dead—just like the majority of the planet. I bent down and picked up a handful of dust. It slipped slowly through my fingers, my gloves turning a slight red color. The ground crunched behind me as Ronnie walked up to me.
"Terrifying, isn't it?" He asked as he looked up at the sky.
I looked back at him, then up at the object that held his attention.
"Yeah. Yeah, I guess it is..."
December 21, 2012.
Staring back at us was a destroyer of worlds. The biggest threat to all life. The Comet. It was hurtling at Earth at speeds unimaginable. It brought with it not only the destruction of life as we knew it, but fear. A brilliant man once said that all we had to fear was fear itself. At that moment, I felt that he was wrong. There was something else to fear out there and it was showing its ugly head, blazing tail following behind that.
"Never thought it would end this way," Ronnie said quietly.
"How could you not?" I joked. "The History Channel's been warning us for years."
He chuckled. It was nice to know that after all that had happened, we still had our sense of humor. No matter how warped it was.
I looked back at him. He hadn't changed much since we parted ways five years ago. I never wanted it to happen, but it had to. We needed to grow up. We needed to move on. We needed a life, a job, a family. At least, we thought we did. That was a long time ago. Before the human race showed just how far it could fall.
He stood wearing a standard F-22 flight suit I had found laying abandoned in the locker rooms of the base. His hair was longer than he used to keep it, but I was happy to see that it was still black. I had always wondered why he wanted to lighten his hair. His gray eyes locked onto mine when he noticed I was staring at him.
I shook my head, "Nothing."
"Why aren't you with your family?" He asked me as I turned back to look up at the harbinger of death.
"Because most of them are dead, just like yours," I replied blankly.
Just like millions more.
"That's not what I meant. Why are you here? Why didn't you go to the shelters?"
"Same reason you didn't."
"I didn't because you didn't..."
I sighed. Ronnie had come because I had asked him to. I wondered if it was too late to tell him to go back; to hide away with everyone else; that my plan was stupid, foolish. A girl's last attempt to cling onto life.
"I read somewhere in Revelations that people would try to hide in the mountains, and that it wouldn't work. I guess if I'm going to die, I'd rather it be out here," I replied after a short pause.
"I thought you said you had a way to get away," Ronnie said.
He was frowning. I could sense it in his voice. I smiled sadly. It grew larger, happier. I turned around and faced him again. I hoped the smile reached my eyes.
"I said if I'm going to die. I didn't say I was," I replied. Maybe I should have been an actress instead of a fighter pilot. No, I wouldn't have been there if I had been an actress.
Ronnie looked around the deserted air base. If there had been a tumbleweed, it would've blown across the pavement.
"Everything's so...dead," he remarked.
I didn't even bother to look around. I knew what the place looked like; what it had looked like.
"That's what happens when a war gets out of hand," I replied.
I took the ponytail holder I had around my wrist and pulled my hair into a loose bun. I had to make certain that it wouldn't fall down and get in the way when I put my helmet on later.
"Yeah, but...I didn't think it'd get this out of hand," he said.
"No one did. Well, not everyone..." I replied. "Anyway, come on."
I turned to my right and began to walk towards my plane. It wasn't really my plane, but I didn't think the pilot would mind if I borrowed his precious Raptor. I don't think the government would have minded either, given the circumstances.
"What? Did you think all this would happen?" Ronnie asked a sarcastic tinge in his voice.
"Yep. It was kind of obvious given the circumstances. And history does sort of repeat itself. That and everyone followed it along like a self-fulfilled prophecy. Granted, a self-fulfilled prophecy of death and destruction."
"Wow, that's…very pessimistic," Ronnie replied.
I snorted, "When haven't I been? I'm always right about the wrong things."
The plane was getting closer. I would have one more flight. One more flight before everything ended. And Ronnie would have it, too. I didn't think he knew what he was getting into when he agreed to come with me. I still don't. I figured because hadn't started screaming.
"Listen," I said. "You're not a fighter pilot, so I don't expect you to know everything about getting prepped. What you're wearing isn't all of it."
"I know. Isn't there some helmet I gotta wear?" He asked.
"Some helmet and some mask, yeah. Those are in the cockpit. I'll help you get sorted out when we get there."
And I did. Or, at least, I tried to. The poor boy didn't have a clue about what he was doing. I was surprised that he had managed to get dressed on his own. I certainly didn't want to have to dress him. That would've been more than a little awkward. It took me a few minutes, but after a while both he and I were strapped down and ready to go.
"Can you tell me, again, why this mask is mandatory?" Ronnie's voice crackled in my ear.
I groaned a little as I situated myself in my seat. "To give you oxygen the higher up we go. Also, that's where the microphone is located..."
"Oh...So, I can't take it off?"
Ignoring the inexperienced "pilot," I started the plane. The engines came to life with that all too familiar whir. Growing up as a kid I always loved jets, and right at that moment, I couldn't have said the feeling had lessened with time.
"How long is this going to take?" Ronnie asked. "There is a giant space rock hurtling towards us at God knows what speed..."
"Give it a minute," I replied checking all the LCD monitors that surrounded my half of the cockpit.
"That all? I thought it would take longer than that..." Ronnie said, clearly impressed.
"Modern technology," I replied.
After the plane was reading, I took hold of the control stick with my right hand and the throttle controls in my other, I eased the plane into position. I could feel Ronnie move about in the co-pilot seat.
"What are you doing?" my voice crackled through the microphone.
"I hate heights..." Ronnie mumbled.
"Seriously, you know how sick I used to get riding in cars."
"You're not throwing up in my plane."
"This is your plane?"
"No, but the threat still stands."
Ronnie didn't respond. I started the plane down the clear runway, and within a matter of moments, it was flying through the air over Tyndall Air Force Base. Ronnie whimpered as the G-forces pushed us back in our seats. His eyes were closed, I could tell. I smirked.
"How long is this going to take?" He asked.
I thought about it. "...a while."
"What do you mean 'a while'? Where are we going?"
"Bermuda?" Ronnie exclaimed. "I don't think now's the best time to be having a vacation."
I laughed. The sound was hollow.
"...Well, whatever you have planned, it'd better work. Or, I better die very quickly because if I don't, I'll find some way to kill and/or haunt you."
Ronnie groaned behind me. We had been flying for over an hour and I couldn't tell if he was groaning because he was bored, or from motion sickness. It probably was both. I let go of the control stick for a brief second to rotate my wrist then quickly returned it.
"Are we dead yet?" Ronnie's voice crackled through my headset.
"No...You wouldn't be talking if we were," I replied as I moved my head around to stretch it a little.
"Then, are we there yet?"
"No, but almost."
"This is by far the longest plane ride I've ever been on..."
"It's the third ride you've been on."
"True. But, I thought it would go by faster. We are on a fighter jet after all." His mic crackled as he moved around a bit.
"Unlike the movie Stealth, I can't snap my fingers and be there within a matter of minutes," I said slightly agitated.
An uncomfortable silence passed between us. Then again, isn't all silence uncomfortable? After a minute I had had enough of the silence. Say something, for the love of God, just say something! A shrill noise erupted throughout the cockpit, and if I hadn't been using my hands, I would've clasped them to my ears. Panic rose within me.
"What the hell is that?" Ronnie practically screamed in my ear.
I knew what it was. It was my radar. The pitch of the warning sound gets higher with severity so that it is able to get the attention of the pilot, and as long as I had been a fighter pilot, through training and real life scenarios, I had never heard it that loud. It was responding to a very large amount of radiation. Only one thing could be making it. I glanced at the radar screens. All of them showed the same, large, moving mass of radiation. All of them showed it headed straight at me from my six. If Ronnie hadn't been with me, I would've broken into tears right then and there.
The way he had said my name told me everything. He knew what that sound meant.
"We're not going to make it, are we?" he asked.
We weren't going to make it. We were never going to make it. I knew that from the beginning. It was hopeless. Foolish. My last attempt to try and live. I had thought that maybe, just maybe, if I ran, I would live. Fight or flight response. I sure as hell couldn't fight The Comet, so I would fly—fly away from it. I thought that maybe if I was in the air instead of hiding in the ground like everyone else, that the impact wouldn't affect me as much. That it wouldn't be as severe. A foolish plan of a foolish girl. Fate is inevitable. I blinked away my tears.
"Hold on!" I said, my voice cracking for other reasons than the microphone.
I ignited the afterburners. The plane shot forward. Ronnie's scream mixed in with the incessant whine of the radar. I don't know where I thought I was going. Don't know why I continued to run. Don't know why I didn't just crash the plane into the sea and get it over with.
The radar continued to scream at me as I looked down to check it. The wall was closer, way closer, and it was quickly approaching the-point-of-no-return close. Ronnie screamed again. I looked up just in time to see what it was that he was screaming at.
I only caught a flash of it. A shimmering pool hovering in front of the plane...and then it was gone. Just like that it was gone and had been replaced with a-
"Mountain!" I screeched as I yanked up on the control stick.
The plane shot upward at an awful speed and the G-forces hit me like a ton of bricks. I tightened the muscles in my legs and abdomen to keep the blood from rushing down to them and away from my brain. The last thing I needed was to blackout. As quickly as I could, I leveled out the plane and slowed down. What I saw nearly made me faint anyway.
Lying out before me was a giant expanse of marsh, and beyond that was nothing but green fields it seemed. I had to struggle to keep my breathing regular. I was already shaking. I had to land. I needed to know if what I was seeing was really there, or if I was hallucinating before I died.
I slowed the plane down substantially and lowered it so that it was very near the wet ground. I would have to land on the grassy part beyond the marsh, but even that would be difficult. If I was going too fast and hit a big enough rock...I didn't want to know what would happen. Ronnie moaned behind me.
"I think...I passed out back there..." he said weakly.
Oops... I hadn't told him about what to do when faced with intense G-forces. Maybe I should have done that before we left.
"You'll be fine," I replied as I lowered the landing gear. I was almost near the end of the marsh.
"I'm dead...How am I fine?" Ronnie sounded drunk, or high, either one. I wouldn't have known.
"You're not dead. I'm not dead. We're not dead."
"Wait a minute, why did that noise stop?"
I wouldn't have thought about it if he hadn't have brought it up, but sure enough, the radar had stopped screaming at me. I didn't have time to check it and see if the shock wave from hell was still chasing my ass, but I was pretty sure it wasn't. I concentrated at the task at hand and braced myself for touchdown. The plane bounced off the ground more than once as I attempted to bring it to a stop, but after a few more times, the plane made contact, and it slowly slid to a stop.
The ground was real, which meant this was real. I was alive. Ronnie was alive. I didn't know where the hell I was, or when the hell I was. But I was somewhere else than in the path of total destruction, and I probably was the happiest person alive...If not one of the only two persons alive. I pushed that depressing thought aside and turned my attention to more important things: Finding out where we were.
A/N: I am officially the Queen of Bullshit. The F-22 Raptor has no option for a two-seater/co-pilot cockpit. It takes hundreds of hours of flying in a simulator and in an F-16 to qualify for piloting such an expensive and advanced piece of equipment. However, for all purposes, I needed to bend the rules. Since this is an alternate reality, I'm just going to say someone thought of a co-pilot F-22, and get away with that 'oops'. As to why I didn't choose an aircraft that already had that capability…I have my reasons. Technological reasons. MOVING ON! I could not find a site to tell me the distance from Tyndall AFB to Bermuda. So, I utilized Google Maps and used that handy-dandy scale at the bottom to guesstimate. Note: When looking for a place, make sure you know where it's at. I half expected to find Atlantis before I found Bermuda. x.x. Oh, and I did find a little place called, "Welcome." -blinks- "Welcome to Welcome! =D"
Edit: You do not want to know how many blunders were in this chapter. You just don't. And I made a trailer for this fan fic found here: www. youtube watch?v=zI-sLeg17pE Take out the spaces in the link and viola.