Total Annihilation or How I Got Rid of the Dog

by Val Evenstar

Author's Note: Sorry this took so long, RL interfered massively..

Consider this a 'deleted scene' from The Tempest, if you will. This is basically my explanation of why Total is not in the story after a certain point. It is also my poor attempt at Iggy angst and at trying to seem genuinely sorrowful at the demise of an annoying, cliché, fuzzy character.

I could feel the wind in my feathers as I dove toward the ground. Normally, I hate diving, because I can't see if the earth is coming too close for comfort. Abd with the wind whistling in your ears, it's hard to hear echoes.

Fortunately – or, as it actually was, unfortunately, Max's panicked voice was guiding me downwards.

Something was wrong with Fang.

So what was new?

Well, I guess he'd never really fallen out of the sky before. And as much as I appreciated originality from Mr. Robot, I wasn't exactly fond of his latest idea.

'Flying until you drop' is an expression. But being Fang, he had to take it literally...

"Max, keep talking!" I yell when her voice stops.

"Over here!" she shouts back instantly. "Go to your left, get over his wing!"

I slide to the left. There's a disturbance in the air below me, the slightest sound of fluttering feathers...

I pour on the speed and feel something brush me to the right, and I turn and grab for it, knowing that it's Fang. The instant I touch him, I know he's hurt, and hurt bad. I feel his body twist as I snatch his arm, then steady as Max grabs him from the other side.

"I'm going to get his shoulder," I yell. "He won't be able to breath if we keep holding him like this!"

She said nothing, but I could feel the tension my words caused. I slid my arm up Fang's, pushing his wing out of the way.

I growled as I came across his backpack straps, and quickly pulled out my knife and cut them away so I could grab his shoulder without the bulky sack between us.

"How close are we to the ground?" I asked Max, since I, being blind, naturally couldn't tell.

"Just a few hundred feet now," she called. "I'll guide us in..."

We landed awkwardly on the beach and I helped Max haul Fang up to the smoother sand at the top of the waterline.

"This feels really bad," I said as I ran my hands over Fang's torso.

Nudge and Angel came running up.

"Is Fang okay?" Nudge asked, breathless.

"Max, his backpack is gone!" Angel yelled.

"Fang's bled a gallon already and you're worried about his backpack?" I snapped, annoyed and worried.

"Iggy," Angel said angrily, "Total was in his backpack."

My heart stopped.

"Iggy, it's okay," Max said.

I shrugged her hand off my shoulder.


Max sounded hurt. "None of this is your fault!"

I snorted. "Tell me about it! If I could see, I could've told you that Fang was in trouble – I know him, I could've seen that he was injured..." I shook my head bitterly.

"And if these stupid eyes worked, I could've seen that Total was in his backpack! I should've heard him bark, at least... or felt his fur... and now Angel will never forgive me..."

"It was just a dog, Iggy," Max said.

"Just a dog?" I turned my sightless eyes on her. "How do we know that? Not every dog can talk! What if it had human DNA in it?"

I could imagine her eyes widening at my words, but I had no way of telling if they actually did.

"It's not your fault," she said again. "It's theirs. They made him that way... made us that way. They should be the ones who pay, not you."

The words rang hollow and false. So what if the whitecoats made the dog? Did that make me any less responsible for what I'd done?

I turned away from Max and walked past her through the trees, just praying that somehow Angel could find it in herself to forgive me.