A/N: This story was based on a vivid dream I had one night.
AS I LAY DYING
by Snake of the Rose
"WE'VE BEEN HIT!"
A big thud.
"PRIVATE! WAKE UP!"
A sharp blow to the face.
The swift blow of reality came crashing down on the young avian pilot. Without he warning he began choking on his own saliva, his eyes still blurred, his ability to hear fading. "Guh?" he sputtered.
The avian's commander appeared in eyesight above the young pilot. "Yes sir?"
"Don't "yes sir" me! The ship is going DOWN! Get up and help steer this damned thing!"
The avian jumped out of his seat. "What?"
"NOW, PRIVATE!" the black-suited commander barked.
The young pilot scanned the control center quickly. All of his fellow pilots were screaming and running around frantically, some trying to fix the damaged controls and put out fires.
The mothership was shaking violently, throwing many off of their feet and slamming them against each other. The young pilot was thrown from his chair suddenly, and he landed against the ceiling.
"We've rolled!" shouted someone frantically, hanging on the the controls- now on the ceiling- desperately. The ship had rolled over, causing the ceiling to be under everyone's feet.
The pilot groaned, his eyesight relentlessly blurry. What the hell is going on? He thought frantically.
There was a sudden impact from the bottom-rear of the ship, and a grueling screech of metal was heard. The ship rolled violently again, this time rotating forward.
"No, no no NO!" the pilot yelled, scrambling furiously upwards, trying to get ahold of something before he fell to his death. He lifted himself onto the back of the ground-secured chair which he had been sitting in earlier.
What was now below him was the ship's front, where the gigantic bayview window was located. The window was an utter factor of death- if that window were to bust open, the whole crew would be sent to their vast grave.
The pilot panted, clutching at his white flight suit. He was very frightened. The ship shouldn't be in the state it was in. Even if it had rolled over, the ship's personal gravity should have remained constant, so the people inside would still be standing firmly on their feet.
Screams filled the air, and everyhwere the pilot looked he saw horror. Many crew members were frantically clutching objects to hang on to with their lives, many of their grips failing them, sending them to their doom. The pilot was in the middle of the room leaning on the back of the head pilot's chair, and had no choice but to watch as his colleagues died. Most were lucky, and slipped onto a sturdy surface of some sort or slipped into another room.
Shrieks were heard from the pilot's left suddenly, and he looked over to see a familiar canine flying through the air.
"Johnathan!" the pilot cried.
The pilot's cries were unheard by the canine as Johnathan sailed at least 60 feet from the back of the room to the front of the ship, where the immense bay window caught the canine's fall with a sickening crack.
"Oh, shut up, McStacey!"
It was a joyful summer day in the vast metropolis of Corneria City. The sun was smiling brightly upon the new day. The cars that filled the sky loomed lazily overhead, their drivers headed to work. A pleasant breeze cooled the freshly graduated pilots as they walked casually through the city's national park. A wolf and a fox, both garbed in white flight suits, were pushing each other around with laughs on their faces.
"Pipe down, you guys," the white avian told them, putting his hands in the pockets of his snappy blue aerial suit.
A silver feline was fiddling with a small, golden medal that was around her neck. The medal had a picture of a capitalized 'C' in the middle of it, with ships in the background and designs around the insignia. She too, wore the same style flight suit as the other three. "Ah, let 'em be, Alex," she told the white avian, still looking at her medal. "It's not everyday someone graduates from the Academy with flying colors." She smiled.
Alex sort of sneered and shifted around in his pockets. She was right though. Getting through the Academy was enough to celebrate about.
The fox laughed, and regained pace with his friends. "Wow," he said aloud, looking up into the sky. "Soon we'll be up there in that fleet kicking some REAL ass.
"Got that right," the wolf said, yawning. "And to think our little Alex here is going to be bossing the lot of us around." He finished his sentence with a smug smile, and gave Alex a pat on the head. He shot him a look.
"About damn time, Johnny." he said, smiling coyly. "After all those years of being your guys' lackey I deserve some proper respect."
With that, Johnny and the fox burst into mocking laughter, which changed Alex's facial expression immediately.
"What's so funny?" Alex stated quite loudly, standing before them. Johnny and the fox suddenly stopped laughing, giving Alex a confused look.
Alex had them now.
"At attention, corporals!" Alex ordered. The two clicked there feet together and stood straight up, looking blankly ahead.
"Alex..." the feline began.
"Luna." Alex held up a hand signaling her to stop, and then he turned back towards the fox.
"Now now," Alex started slyly, walking in front of his teammates. "I believe I missed the joke. Anyone care to explain it for me?"
Johnny, swallowing his pride, spoke up. "Sir! We were recalling the years of picking on you, sir!"
Alex looked at him sternly. "And why is that funny?"
Johnny did not speak, but only looked forward.
Ignoring it, Alex turned towards the fox. "I don't think it's very amusing to make fun of people higher in me in rank. Corporal Perry! Who am I?"
The fox barked loudly. "Sir! You are Commander Alexander Sheridan, pilot of the Cornerian Space Fleet mothership number 117, sir!"
"And that," Alex added, "Makes me your superior officer. Correct?"
"Sir yes sir!"
"And as your superior officer..." he said as he brought his face close to the unblinking fox. "I order you to cover today's lunch at the pizza parlor!"
Alex broke into a laugh as the fox looked at them, dumbfounded. He then sighed angrily and took out his wallet. "Screw you guys."
Alex clutched his chest, laughing. "You almost pissed yourself! Ah, payback's a bitch, eh?" He slugged him on the shoulder playfully. Johnny was practically going into conniptions from laughter and Luna just sort of smiled and shook her head.
The surface of the bay window was beginning to collect pools of blood from the fallen. Alex stared out blankly, awestruck by his friend's death.
The ship was still roaring horridly. Screams were still splitting the air and bodies were still flying. The ship continued to rush through an endless asteroid field.
The ship was soon to be doomed if action was not taken. Leaning against the back of the chair, Alex slowly creeped around to the front of it, where the ship's steering column was placed. The roaring and shaking of the ship made the short distance a dangerous one to travel. He slowly positioned himself above the steering column, and dropped down on to it. Hugging the column, he slowly worked his way up it and reached for the throttle.
He grasped empty air.
"Oh no..." the handle was gone, and the thruster was stuck at its maximum velocity.
"There's gotta be a way to control this thing!" Alex yelled and slammed on a few controls. A few pieces of flaming debris fell around him.
To his left, a rending noise was heard. Alex turned and saw a few of the fusion plasma coils that carried fuel to the engine burst through the wall, spraying noxious green fuel everyhwere. Pilots were rained down upon, the fuel causing some to lose their grips or their eyesight. But then, there was a familiar high-pitched shriek followed by cries of help. Alex saw Luna leaned up against a support column, her eyes closed in pain and her arms up to shield herself from the fuel that drenched her. The fusion coils whipped and twisted around wildly, smacking an unfortunate few to their doom while decorating the interior of the ship with green fuel. One coil suddenly whipped around the column Luna was leaning against and wrapped around her. The coil caught itself, trapping Luna in it's grip. She continued to scream as she tried to free herself from the bone-shattering constriction.
"Luna!" Alex shouted towards her, waving his arms. Luna was blinded by the fuel in her eyes, but she looked around desperately at the sound of her friend's voice. "Alex! Help me!"
"I'm coming!" He shakily tried to balance himself on the narrow column, positioning himself for a daring jump towards the neighboring ones. He counted to three, and then leaped towards the next column, landing on it firmly. He then jumped to the next one, but as he was in the air a blast of fuel sprayed the column with slippery ooze. Alex came down on the column, instantly losing his footing.
"Shit!" He tumbled over the side, falling about 5 feet onto a protruding piece of wall.
Luna was now just 10 feet below Alex's position. He peered over the top of the broken wall. "I'm here Luna! Hang on!" Alex looked around for a sharp object to cut Luna free.
She screamed for more help, the coil wrapping around her tightly. Alex was just about to leap down when he saw another flaming piece of debris fall down towards him. He ducked instinctively, and then realized the horror of his maneuver.
The flames from the debris skimmed Luna as it fell by, setting her ablaze. There was an explosion of flame and a bloodcurdling scream as flames engulfed the feline and incinerated her alive. To his horror, Alex could make out her black outline screaming and thrashing, and then slowly stop, go limp, and diminish into ash.
"NOOO!" Alex screamed in agony.
The fire then wrapped around the fusion coil, engulfing it. The fusion coil was treated like a fuse, the flames rushing through the coil, igniting other ones along the way. The fuel that sprayed from the coils was now ignited, creating thrashing, infernal flamethrowers. They shot around, spewing flames that emulated the doomed upon contact.
Alex was thrown from the wall by the left engine's explosion. The ship now careened left and downward, rolling violently through empty space. Alex flew through the air, catching a glimpse of all the mayhem in one disturbing image. A few seconds later, he smashed against the far back wall, his vision fading to black.
Alex was on his bed, his dorm dark. He threw darts at the ceiling above him, where a picture of a small avian family was stuck.
The dart he had just thrown stuck in the head of a blue avian man wrapping his arms around an purple avian woman and their little white son.
Alex sighed and rolled to his side. He wasn't in the best of moods. His first mission was in about two weeks, and it just happened to be an ever-exciting cargo delivery mission. Alex didn't want his first mission to be something so minimal and pointless. He wanted to start his career with a bang, not with some pointless, boring transport. He wanted to be like the legendary team of mercenaries that had saved the Lylat system countless times, all those years ago.
For Lylat's sake, he was a commander, not a delivery boy.
"Dammit Dad," he muttered to himself. "I sure could use you right now."
The black faded away as Alex was slapped out of unconsciousness. Before him was the bleeding, scorched face of Corporal Dennis Perry.
"Thank God you're okay." the fox lifted Alex to his feet.
Alex almost lost his balance trying to stand up. Rubbing the side of his head wearily, he noticed the ship had stopped rolling and the screams had stopped. There was still a dull roar, and a few small fires were still about.
"What happened?" Alex asked gravely.
Dennis shook his head. "We flew straight into a belt of concentrated asteroids. The pilot was asleep at the wheel, apparently. We have yet to find out who it was."
Alex nodded. "What's the status of the ship and crew?"
"53 reported dead and 18 missing. We have a good amount of injured and the ship is still at risk of tearing apart at a fast rate due to the loss of the left engine and fuel tanks."
Alex looked around as he regained his composure. He saw many blue-suited bodies laying still in rows, covered in sheets. He recognized most of the bodies, one of them, to his dismay, the black-feathered commander.
"I don't understand Den," Alex started, taking his eyes away from the tragedy and turning towards his friend. "Why were we being tossed around like toys? Why didn't the gravitational systems function properly?"
"Well sir, we're not sure yet. Some of the crew looked into it and said it might be something about an external force of gravity that tampered with our interior gravity dampeners."
"That's not very probable," Alex concurred. "It'd take an ENORMOUS force of gravity to do that, especially to a mothership of this size. The only two factors that could maybe cause that would be a Class 5 black hole, or an imploding planet. Both of which are extremely unlikely in this sector of space."
"I'm not sure, sir," Dennis said, scratching his ear.
"Don't call me sir. I'm not your superior officer anymore."
Alex turned away with a sneer, remembering WHY he wasn't a commander anymore, now just a lowly private. A mass spherical glob of green and a sickly yellow was lurking outside the bloodstained bay window. The ship was sailing dangerously close towards a vile-looking planet, with yellow magma flows designing it's surface like raindrops on a windowpane. The planet's surface was dark, except for the outstanding enourmous vomit-colored spot emanating on a small part of the planet.
"What's the name of that planet?" Alex asked.
Dennis once again shook his head. "No idea. The scanners and radar are completely shot, and energy levels are dangerously low. We and the remaining crew members have strategized to sling-shot around the planet and back towards our original destination."
"We're still continuing this mission?" Alex barked. "That's insane! I say we set course for Corneria."
"Sir...er, Alex, we'd be setting course straight for the asteroid belt again. Plus, our destination is closer then home."
Alex growled and turned away. He looked up towards a blackened column that towered above him, where a faint white shape could be made out in the form of a body. Alex knew what it was right away, and it took every ounce of strength to choke back his tears. He felt a hand on his shoulder shortly afterwards.
"I don't believe it either." Dennis said quietly, squeezing Alex's shoulder. "Come on. Let's go see Johnny."
At first, Alex was relieved to hear Johnny's name. Maybe the wolf had survived his fall against the bayview window. Alex sure hoped so.
Dennis led the avian towards a shape that was covered by a white sheet, which made Alex's heart sink. Dennis slowly removed it, and revealed the body of the once proud Johnathan McStacey. He had his arms crossed over his chest, holding his graduation medal in his hands. His black fur was stained with crimson blood. But, even in death, he looked peaceful, content. His eyes were firmly shut in eternal slumber.
Alex couldn't hold it anymore. A few wet spots began to appear on the floor next to the beloved friend. Alex reached down to his fallen comrade and gave him one last hug, tears falling on Johnny's medal.
Dennis was facing the other way, his head in his hands. Alex stood up slowly. Others around him were mourning the deaths of their fellow comrades as well.
"G-goodbye buddy. I...I love you, man."
Alex closed his eyes and waved to someone to cover Johnny back up.
"Well sir," Dennis said, drying his eyes. "We'd best get to some sleep. We're going to need everyone at full attention for the sling-shot maneuver."
Alex agreed. He slumped down in the nearest chair, and let the blackness of sleep overcome him once more.
A/N P.S- This is not the same John McStacey from SilencedFox86's story, "Star Fox: How We Survive."