ADRENALINE


(This... isn't fair!)

Heart racing, blood pounding, Zell has not given up hope for a miracle. Although, he notices, it hasn't been a lucky day so far.

He completes three circuits of the grounds in record time, searching for a way out--any way out. (Dammit!) None are in evidence.

The walls are too high to scale. He would know. He's tried.

The air smells of hot tar and gunpowder, and soon it will smell of smoke and cooking bodies. Soon, he won't be able to smell it.

He'll be dead.

Part of him is quite certain of this.

(Don't think keep looking don't give up can't give up--)

This is the first mission he has ever volunteered for. He fights the sinking feeling that it may be the last. He argued to be included because he wanted to do something more than warn Garden (Excuse me, I kinda messed up and there are missiles after us... sorry!)--he wanted to stop all this.

For the second time, he thinks (This isn't FAIR!)

The ground is shaking. Selphie is the one who comes up with the only idea--the Ironclad, pitted and smoking, may be the only shelter left. It's a narrow chance, but---

While the surface armaments destroy themselves, showering sparks and heat, they run for any chance they have.

Smoke is beginning to roll down on them, choking and obscuring, acrid, burning foulness that stabs at the eyes and lungs. The Ironclad's door is warped and twisted--impossible to open. (So close--)

Time, he thinks, is going rather quickly now.

The world is losing all definition and he can't tell if it's because of the adrenaline, the pure pounding terror, or just the hellish unleash of power from somewhere deep underground. Colors blur together--gold sand. Blue sky. Black smoke.

White heat.

Given ten seconds, there will be nothing.

(Ten.)

Selphie is screaming.

(Nine.)

Irvine is panicking. Zell thinks he might be, too.

(Eight.)

The door is stuck (Jammed!) and won't move and in seven seconds he's going to die here and the thought of it is enough to make him--

(SixfiveforthreetwoONE)

--everything is pain--

Pain along the ribs and shoulder (probably dislocated something) ripping, tearing sensations nothing like the burning he can feel the heat on his back grabbing the team (dammitdammitdammit get IN there) can't tell if he's jumping or pushing or pulling as the explosion picked up the Ironclad (are we inside?) and throws it high in the air, his own weight crushing him against the wall and his team (you guys all right?) as the door's come completely off the side and as they tumble earthward (ten seconds and we hit--) they have to hold on (hold on!) to make sure they don't go flying out as if that would be any worse than ramming the ground in this and as the Ironclad turns again he can see blue sky, rimmed with black--

Three.

Two...

...one.

And now, there is nothing.