Disclaimer: All original movie characters, lines, settings etc. Belong rightfully to their creators. I own nothing except Rachel Velsing.
Chapter 1 - Detonation
A R M A G E D D O N
Which is worse, surviving death, or surviving survival?
It was the most insane idea she had ever come up with, but it was insane enough to work….or not. It didn't matter, she would die if she did nothing, and if she did do something she had a better chance of surviving.
Oscar had saved her life, through sacrificing his, she wasn't about to let his sacrifice go to waste. Rachel had remembered back to when Watts was lecturing Bear about his DAT's. The DAT's are thrusters that enable gravity around you, and since there is no gravity, things float once they start moving and they don't stop unless forced to.
Her idea was to jump forwards, turn her DAT's off, and then she would float for a while, she turns them back on and she drops back down. It was psychotic, but Rachel wasn't willing to just give up and sit around waiting for a bomb to devour her.
Rachel had first went to get the Armadillo only to find it gone. Someone had taken it, she was encouraged by the fact someone or someone's had survived. Rachel looked out into the endless sky, the Freedom shuttle would have to have landed somewhere in the middle give or take a few miles considered the speed they were traveling at. She remembered the general direction, so that gave her an advantage.
Now she only had to worry about the razor sharp rocks, and canyons. Rachel started forward, taking a deep breath, "This is crazy, this is crazy. God help me."
"Just wanted to make sure you know we are stuck on an asteroid. Do you know what you are doing there?"
AJ replied to Andropov, "No, no, you know what, I have no idea what I'm doing! I have no idea! This button, I have no idea what that does! Okay? All I know is that we just crashed back there, I lost three of my friends, We're 25 miles from Harry's shuttle, we don't know if he's alive, we don't if he can fly, all I know is there is a beep on this thing, and I'm trying to get us there!"
Andropov stared at him throughout his entire rant, Bear looking between them.
Harry spoke towards Chick, "Lets get it unpacked."
They stepped out of the lift, Chick looking around. Sharp spoke,
Harry continued walking, "We're drilling through some kind of metal, I've never seen before. It's fried two of our drill bends and now we just blew our first transmission."
Sharp followed him, "So how deep are we?"
"We could use your help with the transmission Colonel."
"I have to assess with control due now, we are supposed to be at 200 feet, so how deep are we?"
Harry responded a little coldly, "Not as deep as we'll be when you quit asking us all these questions and help us load this transmission on it."
Sharp asked with a more commanding tone, "What is our current depth?"
"Our current depth is not important Colonel!"
"I'll decide what is important, we've got 800 feet to drill, you have had two and a half hours! Where are we?"
Harry stood up and looked him in the eye, "We're 57 feet."
Sharp's face remained the same, though a look of dread flashed through his eyes. Harry continued,
"Now if your not too busy, maybe you can give us a hand with this transmission."
Sharp stared at him, and ignored him as he turned and walked quickly towards the radio transmissions. Harry called out,
"Colonel Sharp!" He continued walking.
Harry turned to Chick, "Get it strapped up, I'll be right back."
Harry shouted again, "COLONEL SHARP!"
Sharp sat down and grabbed the phone, "Houston, this is Freedom, do you copy?"
"Gruber's working on the north satellite link this moment. Transmission changed, puts drilling past four hours. Please advise, that is four hours past the zero barrier. Please advise."
Harry walked up and grabbed the drill card from Sharp's hand, "What the hell is this? Drill time? And where did this come from?"
"Who you talking to? Is that Truman? Let me have that phone, lemme the phone."
Harry grabbed it from Sharp and shouted across.
"Truman! Look this is what happens when you drill. We can not use your US Air Force Personnel Only Drill Time Card. Who wrote this thing by the way?!"
Watts leaned over and spoke, "We're losing comms again."
"Are you getting this?! Can you hear me?! What's wrong with this?"
Sharp stormed in there and grabbed the phone from Harry, Harry resisting. Sharp spoke,
"What'd you mean comms down?"
"What do I mean? I mean we lost communications to mission control!"
"Lets go back to the cargo bay and get the transmission loaded!"
"Harry, guess what you had your shot, you didn't do it. You understand me?"
"You killed everybody." He continued.
Harry growled, "Why don't you stay here-"
They began cutting each other off, Harry finally shoved Sharp backwards into his seat, and shouted,
"Write a report why don't ya'? That'll-" Sharp cut him off again, shouting back. Harry in turn doing the same. Truman shook his head. Harry started to climb down into the cargo bay,
"My men and I will go and get this hole done!"
Sharp shouted, "You and your men are the biggest mistakes in the history of NASA!"
Harry stopped and stared at him. He knew it was probably true, and he knew their chances of getting 753 feet drilled in less than 5 hours was nearly impossible.
The phone rang, Kimsey's hand immediately picked it up.
"Yes? Kimsey here."
There was silence, Kimsey looked at Truman,
"Yes, Mr. President?"
Kimsey stood in silence listening to the other end of the phone,
"Yes, we saw that too Sir."
Kimsey suddenly looked slightly alarmed and tried to rationalize,
"-But maybe we should wait until the-"
He was cut off, and then he looked down setting the phone back on the hook. Truman looked up as Kimsey spoke,
"Dan. Get them out of there. Evac, right now."
Truman shook his head with a frown, "What's going on here?"
Kimsey replied, while looking him in the eyes, "I've been ordered to override the system."
At that moment the elevators opened and many officers came storming through. Truman looked up and shouted,
"W-what is this?!"
Kimsey replied, "Secondary Protocol."
"But they haven't drilled the damn hole yet!"
"The President's advisors feel the drilling isn't working. And we've lost radio contact, maybe for good, we've only got a few minutes left of guaranteed ability to remote detonate that nuke. If we don't do that now, we could lose control and we may never get it back."
Truman looked away and then shouted, "Well you better tell the President that he better fire his so called advisors, and if you detonate that nuke on the surface you waste a perfectly good bomb, and we have one chance to save this planet!"
Truman replied into the phone, "Yes, Mr. President I understand that completely, but my point is very, very, simple. And I think you need to trust me on this, because I know something about it. I guarantee you if you do this, you kill us all."
Truman went silent as the President spoke adamantly. He sighed closing his eyes briefly,
He pulled the phone away and spoke, "General….He wants you."
Truman handed Kimsey the phone, and then looked away. Kimsey spoke,
"This is Kimsey."
"Yes, Sir….I understand."
Kimsey hung up the phone, looking downwards he spoke,
"The orders are to remote detonate in 30 seconds."
Grace came storming down rage and sorrow showing plainly, through her pale face. One of the advisors jumped in her way, she spoke viciously,
"You have not told them yet!"
They turned to look at her as she screamed, "THAT IS MY FATHER UP THERE!"
Truman turned on Kimsey angrily, "This is one order you shouldn't follow, and you fucking know it!"
Truman turned his back on Kimsey, and yelled at the Advisor, "Let her go, let her go!" He pulled Grace from the man and pulled her with him. He had an idea, but he needed to get her out of there first.
They took the keys and slid them into the slots, Kimsey looked down regretfully, "God be with them."
Chick was strapping the transmission down, when suddenly the bomb revved up and began ticking; the time counting downwards.
Chick spoke, "Harry…the clock on that nine foot nuclear weapon is ticking."
Harry stared at the bomb and spoke breathlessly, "Oh my god."
He ran forward and shouted at the top of his lungs, "SHARP! GET BACK HERE NOW!"
Sharp came flying down the ladder into the cargo bay. He shouted behind him,
"Watts! Get the shuttle ready for evac now!"
As Sharp ran towards him he spoke, "It just came on all by itself. W-what the hell's happening?"
Sharp replied, "Secondary protocol."
Harry looked at him, "What's that- What?!"
Chick looked at him and asked amazingly calmly as he helped them push the ticking nuclear weapon forward, "What does that mean?"
Harry cut in, "What the hell is secondary protocol?!"
Sharp speaking mindlessly as he worked quickly, "Detonating this thing-"
Harry didn't allow him to finish, "What do you mean detonating this thing?! We haven't even drilled the hole yet!"
Chick spoke in alarm, "Wo-ho-ho-whoa."
Sharp continued, "I need your help now!"
"Uh, no, no, no, how do ya; turn it off?" Chick asked.
"But Sharp, I got two men down on that rock!"
"I've got a man out there too! We've gotta evac now!"
Harry spoke into his comm, "Max, Rockhound! Get back to the shuttle now, double time!"
"They could be on there way here!"
Max shouted back in worry, "There not on there way here! They would have talked to us by now! We would have seen them!"
Harry shouted into the comm again, "MAX! ROCKHOUND!"
Chick spoke over him to Sharp, "Hey wait a minute! How do you turn this thing off?!"
Harry turned, "Max, Rockhound!"
Rock heard static over the line, "Harry, do you copy?"
Max shouted, "Something's wrong!"
Rock replied, "Yeah, it's all wrong, man. We shouldn't even be up here!"
He finished with a laugh as Max replied, "I know! Lets go back to the ship!
Harry turned as Sharp came running back, "I am not leaving without my men Sharp!"
Sharp began turning a dial extremely fast as he spoke, "We've got two and half minutes to drop it and get off this rock. If they're not back by the time we finish, we leave without them."
Chick spoke, "Ok…Lets simplify this, we-lets just turn the bomb off."
Harry growled, "If we don't put this bomb down in a hole 800 feet onto a fault line, all you're gonna have is a real expensive fireworks show."
Chick stared at Sharp as he continued strapping the bomb down, "This is turning into a surrealistic nightmare!"
Truman spoke quietly into a small comm connected to Waisler's head set.
"Waisler, are you listening, this is Truman. Ok listen to me carefully, I want you to kill it. Kill the uplink."
Waisler nodded his head, and sat down in his seat again, he looked around and began typing, a co-worker approached with the necessary codes to override the keys to the nuke.
"Give us the time Sharp! Shut this bomb down now!"
Sharp continued tightening the bomb, "Not my call."
Harry and Chick spoke in unison, "Then who's call is it?"
Sharp replied, "We were ordered to detonate it by the President."
Chick spoke in alarm, "Shut this bomb down now!"
Harry shouted, "THE PRESIDENT'S NOT HERE! WE NEED MORE TIME, I'M TELLING YOU SHUT THIS BOMB DOWN NOW!"
Sharp looked up, "And I'm telling you it's not my call!"
Harry turned and spoke, "Well guess what I just made the call for you." He picked up large red, round gripped, plyers. He swung them around to hit the nuke, Sharp whipped out .45 caliber pistol, Harry stopped instantly.
Sharp whispered, "Don't."
"You could set it off."
Chick stared at him, "Oh man, what are you doing with a gun in space?"
Gruber walked in staring at the scene in utter bewilderment. Sharp spoke,
"This things gonna blow we gotta get it off the ship."
Chick spoke quietly, "Easy."
Sharp looked at Gruber, "Stand down Sergeant."
Harry whispered, "Shut this bomb down, and let us finish this job the right way."
Sharp replied, "I'm under orders to protect a surface detonation."
Harry stared at him and then spoke, "I'm gonna give you three seconds to shut this bomb, down, and then I'm gonna make you shoot me."
Suddenly the bomb turned off, Chick looked down at it with a frown, "What happened?"
Harry continued staring at Sharp. He waited until his concentration was lost, Sharp looked down at the bomb, Harry swung the plyers hitting Sharp in the hand. He yelled in pain, when Chick turned on Gruber, his elbow whacking him across the face. A dull groan was released from him as Chick advanced.
Harry clamped the plyers around Sharp's neck, he fought against it, trying to get air and release. Harry growled through gritted teeth,
"You brought me all the way out here, just to blow me and my friends up? Is that it?!"
Sharp struggled to speak, Harry shouted, "Shut up! Shut up Colonel!"
Gruber stood up slowly, staring at Sharp who's face was turning red from lack of oxygen and struggling. Chick picked up the gun, Gruber eyeing him cautiously; backed down immediately.
"No talking now!"
Sharp gasped as he struggled to breathe, "It could start again, it might've been control."
The lift doors opened, Max and Rockhound stared at the scene. Harry spoke quietly,
"That's why you are going to dismantle this bomb."
Rockhound spoke, "All right, what did we miss?"
The bomb started up again, Chick spoke, "Oh geeze, here we go again."
Harry spoke quietly to Sharp. "What are you doing up here, why did you even bother to make the trip?"
Sharp responded with much struggle, "To do the right thing, to see that it's done."
Harry stared at him and knew he was telling the truth, he pulled the plyers from his neck. Sharp collapsing in relief, he breathed heavily, gaspingly.
Harry knelt down, "For god's sakes think about what you're doin'. Why are you listening to someone that's a hundred thousand miles away? We're here. No body down there can help us. So if we don't get this job done, then everybody's gone."
Chick interjected, "One minute."
Harry's eyes filled with tears in complete frustration. He continued firmly, "I have been drilling holes in the earth for thirty years. And I have never, never missed a depth that I have aimed for. And by God, I am not gonna miss this one. I will make 800 feet."
"But I can't do it alone, Colonel. I need your help."
Sharp's face clenched in pain, as tears filled his eyes, his lips trembled as he looked back at the bomb. He spoke in struggled, rasped voice,
"You swear on your daughter's life, on my family's, that you can hit that mark?"
Harry stared at him, and then spoke quietly and beyond sincere-ness, "I will make 800 feet. I swear to God I will."
Sharp replied breathlessly, "Then lets turn this bomb off."
Harry lent him a hand, pulling him to his feet. The time clock ticked 30 seconds as Gruber and Sharp un-drilled it. Gruber flipped it over, Sharp spoke,
"Steady, steady. Take the back out."
"Pull the wire."
"Which one?" Gruber asked quickly.
"Uh-uh, all of them!"
Max cringed in fear as he stared at the ticking bomb, Rockhound breathed out, "Do a good job, do a good job."
They began cutting wires, Sharp spoke, "Negative B."
The clock ticked ten seconds, Rockhound muttered 'Do a good job' over and over, he closed his eyes in fear. Chick was backing away, cringing, as if waiting for a blast. Gruber than asked,
"Red or blue?"
They stopped. Sharp stared at the wires and went for the red one as it ticked 3 seconds, Max whimpered and closed his eyes. In a split second, Sharp changed and cut blue. The bomb stopped and powered down. Rockhound spoke nearly involuntarily,
Harry let out the breath he had been holding for 30 seconds, Sharp backed away trying to calm his nerves. Max opened his eyes and muttered under his breath as he turned,
"Ah, God, it sucks up here."
"I've got some magic happening, we're bouncing off Russian and French satellites. I may have a signal."
Suddenly, Harry's very irritated an annoyed voice spoke,
"Houston. Houston do you copy?" Truman looked up, unaware of the radio signal.
Harry continued, "Houston, do you have a problem?"
Everyone in mission control stopped and listened with anticipation.
"You see I promised my little girl, that I'd be coming home. Now I don't know what you people are doing down there, but we've got a hole to dig up here."
Everyone exploded in cheers, Grace laughed tearfully. Truman grinning from ear to ear, spoke,
"Come on, lets go, go, go, we've got work to do!"
Rockhound spoke, "Ok guys, all go no quit! How ya' doin' down there, good?"
Chick leaned out from behind the Armadillo's transmission and spoke, "Ok, got the tranny in, we're back in business!"
Rockhound turned slowly looking at the earth, "Hey, you guys should take a break and come up and see this. Wow. Got a great view of the Earth from here. Too bad we'll never set foot on her again."
The Armadillo rolled along slowly, Andropov walking out in front watching the ground closely. Bear was driving the vehicle, when AJ shouted,
"Lev! Do you see anything?"
"Well keep going, I'm not giving up!"
AJ looked around carefully, "Hold up here, Bear."
Andropov spoke, "Oh boy."
AJ growled, "This is great. We just happen to run into the Grand Canyon on the asteroid."
Andropov looked around and replied, "I told you, you took wrong way, wrong road."
AJ looked at him as if he was crazy, "What- What road? Do you see any roads around here?"
Andropov fired back, "You know what, I do not have much pleasure being near God's ear, but you think this is looking good or what?"
"Lev, why don't you do humanity a favor, and just shut the hell up!" He threw a rock in the air in frustration, it spun and continued to float. AJ frowned, suddenly an idea forming in his head. He suddenly spoke,
"Have you ever heard of Evel Knievel?"
Andropov, being completely clueless replied, "No, I never saw Star Wars."
Rachel collapsed in complete weariness. Her breath was ragged, she was aching, she felt done. She had figured she was approximately 26 miles from Harry when she started, and now she was pretty sure she had 'bounded' 20 miles all in all, jumping 200 meters to 400 at a time. Each time taking at minimum two minutes and thirty seconds.
While she had 'floated' most of the way, she was worn out from fighting the stiff ass suit, calculating, time, distance, and trying to stay straight so she could mark her way correctly and not get totally off track.
In the beginning, what she hadn't anticipated was, you spin when you float in space. Yeah, not fun. Suddenly she heard static across her comm, she looked up. Her mind immediately whirled, she had to be close or else it wouldn't work. She heard the sound of a drill, she had gone a lot further than she had originally thought.
As if empowered she scrambled to her feet, her mind calculating the power of the comm and the sound of the noise. She was at most 4 miles off of the shuttle, according to the distance of the comm. The roaring of the drill was too powerful for her to be more than five miles away, she moved forward quickly. Not allowing no amount of weariness to stop her.
"All right your doing a good job." Rockhound spoke as he walked towards the nuke.
"Give me a depth reading Max!"
"We're heading 50 feet, Harry!" Max replied quickly.
Harry and Sharp headed towards the Nuke, to see Rockhound on top of it,
"Yee-haw! Ride em' cowboy! Yippe - I - Oh, Kai - ay!"
Harry looked at Sharp then back at Rockhound as if he had completely lost his mind. Sharp stopped and spoke firmly.
"Get off. The Nuclear. Warhead."
Rockhound grinned, "I was doing that guy from that movie, you know, Slim Pickens, where he rides it all the way in, the nuclear warhead."
Sharp ignored his statement, "Now."
Rockhound sobered, "Oh, you didn't see that one, huh?"
Sharp stared at him. His gaze unwavering, Harry spoke up,
"We've got 700 feet of hole to dig Rockhound."
Rockhound nodded his head, "All right, Just wanted to feel the power between my legs, brother."
Rockhound got off, Sharp still staring at him.
"Hey Sharp! No nukes! No nukes! No nukes!" He pumped his arms downwards in a protesting fashion.
Sharp sighed and looked at Harry, his face covered with the utmost annoyance. Harry smiled and spoke,
"You got any more bullets in that gun, Sharp?"
"What did Watts tell ya' Bear? If she kicked you in the balls, you'd keep floating?"
Bear breathed, "Yeah…"
AJ put the Armadillo in reverse, he spoke,
"We turn the thrusters off, we jump, we float right over this thing!"
He stopped the vehicle, and spoke, "Go over it again Lev."
Andropov spoke, "So we check thrusters off exactly when we jump and then I'm gonna put them on and were gonna go down nice and slow."
Bear spoke deeply, "That's it, That's it baby, That's it."
AJ looked at Andropov, "Is this gonna work?"
Andropov looked at him then Bear, and then back, "I don't know."
AJ spoke, "Lev! You know what, just…lie to me!"
"Let's say fifty- No. More like um, like 17, 13, 18, 20- You know what if it works the two of you gonna be heroes. Just like me."
AJ replied, "Screw it, we're jumping over this canyon." The Armadillo began to roll forward and gain speed, Bear shouted, "Just for the record, this is a very bad idea!"
As they got closer and closer to the edge, AJ spoke,
"Not yet Lev, not yet…"
Andropov counted slowly, and as they hit the edge, he shouted, "OFF!"
They hit the air, the Armadillo wavering, but never the less began floating across the canyon. They cheered,
"YES! IT'S WORKING! IT'S WORKING!"
AJ smiled from ear to ear, looking around. Andropov shouted,
"I'm a genius!"
AJ spoke, "Whoa, whoa, whoa."
Andropov muttered, "Wait a minute."
Before them stood a tall, razor sharp rock, AJ began frantically pulling on the controls, only to find, the tires don't work without track.
"We've got something wrong!"
Andropov shouted, "Go left! Go left!"
AJ shouted, "I can't do it!"
They began yelling in fear and staring at the rock while frantically turning the wheel. The Armadillo hit the rock incredibly hard, it shifted upwards from the impact.
Andropov spoke, "Ok, ok, we're floating into outerspace."
AJ spoke, "Uh…this could be a little bit of a problem."
Andropov spoke, "Thrusters on!"
"Ok turn them on!"
They burst to life and then suddenly shut off. AJ frowned, "What's wrong?"
Andropov spoke while pushing the buttons forcefully, "The thrusters aren't working!" He punched the wall while yelling,
"I HATE THIS MACHINE!"
AJ shouted, "I thought you had this all planned!"
"BE QUIET, I'm stepping outside." Andropov said standing up and heading towards the main exit. He stopped near Bear as AJ frowned, "You're-you're going outside?"
Andropov replied, "I am the only certified astronaut. And I'm saving your American ass!"
Bear looked straight ahead with wide eyes. Not daring to say a word. Bear spoke as he went into the air sealed shaft.
"Yeah we should listen to him, right."
As Andropov climbed outside, AJ shouted,
"HURRY UP MAN, WE'RE ABOUT A MILE OFF THE ASTEROID!"
"JUST A SECOND THE FUEL LINES ARE ICED UP!"
He began stabbing the iced pipes trying to clear them and give the room to start up again..
"I think maybe working now?!"
AJ replied while stabbing his finger at the controls button, "No, Lev! IT'S NOT WORKING!"
Andropov spoke, "Sorry AJ! I was way off the odds!"
Bear spoke, "We're getting higher man!"
Andropov continued beating on the ice, suddenly he looked up and in panic yelled,
"LOOK OUT THE ROCKS! THE ROCKS!"
AJ's eyes widened, as he could do nothing. Andropov was hit severly hard, throwing him backwards, he grabbed on to the edge of the Armadillo as he swung from side to side, and was pelted with a series of debris. He fell over the side, AJ shouted,
Suddenly on his side was a large rock, quickly he jumped to the top of the Armadillo on the windshield, he shouted,
"PUSH THE THRUSTERS!"
AJ SHOUTED, "LEV LOOK OUT!"
They crashed into a large rock and began spinning violently. Andropov hanging on for dear life as he was tossed back and forth.
AJ spoke in fear, "We lost Lev!"
Andropov screamed, "AJ!" He grabbed on to a long rope and was flung out the back of the Armadillo, still managing to hold on.
"AJ THE THRUSTERS!"
They continued to spin, AJ yelling. He began pushing several buttons, the thrusters suddenly bursting to life. Propelling them in more spirals, and slamming the Armadillo into a rock wall. Bear's eyes were wide as he breathed quickly and shortly.
"LEV HOLD ON WERE COMIN' IN!"
The Armadillo began lowering, it stopped spinning as it's tires crashed into the rocks, shoving it forward and sliding it to a halt in a flat area.
Sweat streamed down Bear's face as he began speaking in a whisper, "Thank you Jesus, Thank you Lord, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you."
Andropov sat up, looking around in compete bewilderment of what he had just survived, and gone through. AJ pulled on his suit and opened the hatch, he yelled, "LEV!"
Andropov screamed, "NOW I'M REALLY A RUSSIAN HERO!!"
AJ shouted, "I told you!"
AJ was grinning, he clapped his hands, "Come on Lev, get in here, we gotta go!"
Andropov pumped his arm in the air, "YEAHHH!"
"Rockhound keep an eye on that transmission." Harry said.
"Tranny looks good Harry."
"All right take it outta there, lock it down Chick."
While they were installing the new Drill razors, they had not see Rockhound pick up the turret. He spoke,
"Hey. How come we didn't get any training on this thing?"
As the red laser beemed out, he spoke in excitement, "Whoa, very cool."
"I can take out this asteroid, single handedly."
"Ok boys, give it a rest I'll take it from here."
Rockhound let fire rip through the air, "WHOA!" He shouted.
Chick looked up and jumped to the side to avoid the fire, "What the hell is that?!" The bullets began ripping through the air and the rock, narrowly missing the crew members.
Harry growled, "Rockhound!"
He teetered slightly from the kickback of the gun, but grinned as he spoke, "Whoa! This is so much fun it's freaky!"
He lifted the gun back up and began firing again. Harry ran towards him, "ROCKHOUND!"
Sharp ran forward, having to leave his cover behind a rock, Rockhound had torn through. Gruber pulled him in behind the Armadillo.
Harry dropped to the ground, dodging the rain of fire. Rockhound spoke easily, "Sorry Harry." But continued fire.
Rockhound shouted, "Outta my way boy!" Harry had to army crawl all the way up to the rock hill, Rockhound stood on. Harry shouted,
"EAT YOUR LIQUOR ASTEROID!"
Harry suddenly tackled Rockhound, they flew downwards quickly, Rock was slammed terribly hard. They all cautiously appeared from their cover, Sharp muttered,
"This is insane."
Harry yelling at Rockhound, "Have you lost your mind?!"
Sharp called out, "He's got space dementia."
He continued, "Harry you wanna watch your men."
Suddenly flames began bursting from the pipe drill, it began to shake. Harry spoke calmly but urgently,
"Max….downshift slowly, and put it in reverse. We gotta get that pipe outta there."
Max frowned and looked, his eyes widened to the size of saucers as he saw the problem. The ground began to shake violently, Max shouted,
Sharp shouted, "The grounds cracking!"
As they began to scatter from the cracks that began opening. Harry's leg fell into one he shouted,
"MAX! SHUT IT OFF! SHUT IT OFF!"
Max shouted, "WE'RE GONNA HAVE A BLOW OUT!"
Harry shouted, "WE HIT A GAS POCKET!"
"MAX GET YOUR HELMET ON! IT'S GONNA BLOW!"
Max shouted, "OH JESUS I'M COOKING!" As the flames began licking the Armadillo. Sharp shouted,
"MAX GET OUTTA THERE!" Harry shouted, his face crushed in complete fear, as the Armadillo began to shake violently.
Max screamed, "HARRY!"
Harry was thrown backwards by a burst of flames. Max went to save something, but an explosion caught him off, caught him off completely.
"NOOO!" Harry screamed.
Rockhound who was still a little -out there- spoke softly, "Bye Max."
"NOOOO!" Screamed Harry again in pain of losing another friend. Rockhound spoke quietly,
"Take care buddy."
Harry crawled to his feet, as Chick took a step forward staring at the Armadillo that was floating away. They had just lost another friend, and they had no Armadillo. Things were not going good, at all.
Harry collapsed to his knees by the hole, his hand scooping up ash, as he let dribble out of his hand. He spoke sorrowfully,
"Get a hold of Truman, prepare the world for bad news."
"Guess what guys, it's time to embrace the horror! Look, we've got front row tickets to the end of the earth!"
Harry's eyes looked up slowly, as heard crackling across his comm. A frown crossed his face as he slowly stood, scanning the area. A light flashed at the top of a cliff. Harry's eyes rested there for a moment, and suddenly an Armadillo began crawling along. He pumped his arm in the air,
Bear shouted, "WHAT'S UP BABY!"
AJ continuing, "HARRY!"
Sharp slowly stood and stared at the Armadillo in complete disbelief of their survival. Chick looked up, his face losing the complete look of defeat. A smile slowly spread.
"YEAH!" Harry shouted again.
Bear calling, "HARRY! WHAT'S UP BA-BY!"
"Sharp! Get that bomb outta here! We got a hole to make!"
Rachel jumped slightly as screaming erupted over her comm. She stumbled forward, her eyes widening. Others had survived, she heard Bear's voice, and AJ's. She ran -if you could call it that- forward, seeing the edge. Rachel realized she had made it, they had began digging the hole in a valley.
As she reached the edge, she saw the Armadillo crawling slowly towards the center, though she didn't see the other. Only blackened ash was around the hole. Bear shouted.
"YEAH! HARRY, WHAT'S UP BABY!"
She grinned and began a very quick, but cautious trek downwards. AJ suddenly spoke,
"Hey Harry! Ya' miss me?"
"AJ, I got just five words for you: Damn glad to see you boy!"
AJ smiled, "That's six words."
"Chick walk em' down!"
"So where's this hole you need done?"
As Rachel became closer, she spoke,
"Hey, hey, don't start the party without me!"
They turned, AJ staring at her with disbelief. At the looks of complete shock she spoke,
"Yeah, you don't wanna know how I get here."
Harry grinned, "Lets dig a hole!"
As they began lining the Armadillo up, Rachel joined up with Gruber for the munitions part of drilling. She spoke,
"So what needs to be done?"
"As of now? Rockhound needs to be tied down."
Rachel frowned, "What'd he do?"
"Lost his mind."
He handed her a roll of duck tape, she shrugged, "All right."
As Rachel entered the cargo bay, she saw Rockhound already duck taped down. He looked at her,
"RACHE! Your alive! I-I thought you died!"
"Yeah me too Rockhound."
"Can you get me out of this? I'm not crazy, I swear!"
"Who tied ya' down?"
"Watts did. You know for a woman with her looks, she is extremely strong."
Rachel laughed, "Good for her, she did my job."
Rachel entered the lift again, Rockhound shouted, "RACHE!"
Sharp had just came down the ladder, he stopped as soon as he saw her. Rachel smiled, Sharp stepped into the lift with her. As the doors shut, he spoke,
"You were with them in the Armadillo?"
"No, I came in a very different way."
Sharp smiled as they hit the bottom, as they put their helmets on, he spoke,
"It's great to have you back, Velsing."
Rachel smiled at him. "It's great to be back, Colonel." She headed over to Gruber and set the duck tape down,
"Watts got sick of him and tied him down herself."
Gruber looked up, "Great. I've got everything under control here, you can go and give the crew an extra person to do monitoring."
Rachel nodded my head, as she walked over to the Armadillo. Chick spoke,
"Bring that heat down Bear!"
Harry looked at her, "Watch the tranny."
She nodded her head, and walked behind where the transmission was working, and stood watch. Nothing really to it, but it was crucial that it didn't blow or else it could and was a severe danger to everyone around it.
"Drop the drill!"
AJ shouted, "Alright comin' down!"
Harry spoke, "We've got 250 feet to go! Last transmission, last drill!"
"Punch it through! First gear, we got contact!"
"Bring it on down AJ!"
Bear growled as he carried many pipes towards them, "I've got some, lets go!"
Watts spoke, "Lev! The right engine hopped!"
Andropov came sprinting through the cargo bay, Rockhound had duck tape over his mouth as Watts had gotten tired of his shouting. Andropov stopped and went back he ripped the tape off his mouth, Rockhound growled and began to speak, though was cut off as Andropov put a hand over his mouth to listen to the instructions from Watts. He took off again, Rockhound shouting,
"I was just trying to have some fun before I died!"
"How deep are we?" Harry shouted.
AJ shouted, "770!"
Rachel shouted, "Harry the Tranny's starting to struggle!"
Flames burst from the drill, pushing Chick backwards.
"SHUT IT DOWN! BACK IT DOWN!" Harry shouted.
AJ continued, "I can pull it back now! We don't have the time!"
Chick shouted, "Whoa, whoa, whoa! It's gonna blow!"
Harry shouted, "THIS IS HOW WE LOST MAX!"
AJ looked up but continued going down with the drill, "I KNOW WHAT I AM TALKING ABOUT! WE CAN NOT JUST SET DOWN THE BAR!"
"This is our last transmission AJ!" Harry shouted.
AJ shouted, "God damn it! If your ever gonna trust me, ever, once in your life, trust me now!"
Rachel knew this was it, it was all up to AJ's gut now. She took a deep breath, and continued watching the transmission carefully. It began heating up, and letting out a squealing noise, she cringed and shot a look at Harry.
Chick shouted, "HARRY IT'S GONNA BLOW!"
AJ interjecting, "I know what I'm doing! You just gotta trust me!"
Harry breathed deeply as he stared at AJ, Rachel knew they needed to keep going, they needed to get as deep as possible.
Harry spoke, "Make the call."
AJ stared and then spoke, "All right hold up, I'm pushing through!"
AJ shouted, "I'm pushing through!"
Rachel came around, and helped them control the drill, that now was bouncing violently. Harry shouted,
"What's your depth?"
Bear pushed the pipe upwards, Rachel helping lower down, "Bring it up baby! Drive it home!"
Harry shouted, "COME ON DOWN AJ!"
"COME ON AJ! PUNCH IT!"
AJ shouted, "792! 795!"
Rachel shouted, "WE'RE ALMOST THERE! COME ON!"
"Lets go down AJ!" Bear shouted.
"796! 799! 800!"
Rachel pumped her arm in the air, "YES!"
Harry shouted, "YEAH!"
AJ shouted, "WE DID IT!"
Bear and Chick shouting in unison, "YOU DID IT AJ!"
Rachel shouted, "Lets get that nuke down here, and blow this bitch up!"
T minus 38 minutes - Day 1
"I'm gonna need two more minutes! I've got a bench pipe in that hole, we gotta cut it out before we send the bomb down!"
Sharp gave him a look, saying nothing and returning to rewiring the bomb. Rachel tossed another pipe into the growing pile.
"She good to go?"
"Yeah I'm all set!"
AJ was lowered down in the hole and began quickly cutting the pipe. Sharp shouted,
"Harry you gotta give me that hole, the bomb's almost ready!"
Harry replied, "Just a second!"
Rachel looked up as rock began floating past, she frowned.
She jumped as one that was on fire flew past her, barely missing her. "WHOA!"
Chick spoke, "Well this something new."
Chunks of rock kept coming, and the asteroid began quaking. Rachel growled,
"Holy shit! Do the surprises ever stop?!"
They all looked as a particularly large hunk, crashed into another stationary rock. Rachel covered her face as small chunks began raining down upon them.
Harry spoke, "I don't think this thing likes us!"
Chick who was still watching carefully, replied, "That's because it knows we're gonna kill it."
"WHOA!" Harry shouted as a rock flew past Gruber, he began running towards them, trying to get out of the corner he was caught, as did Andropov.
AJ shouted, "What's going on up there?!"
Rachel shouted, "GET HIM OUT OF THERE!"
All hell began to break loose as the rocks kept coming and crashing into the ground below, Rachel dove out of the as way one came crashing down. Harry and Chick were pulling AJ out, when suddenly there was an explosion in the hole, rock came flying out, and AJ went with it.
Chick reacting quickly grabbed the rope attached to AJ before he floated into outer space. AJ was brought down by a rock, which barely missed him. Gruber shouted,
"SHARP WATCH OUT!"
Rachel shot up as a rock came towards Gruber, "GRUBER!" He froze as the rock came towards him. She was too late as the rock hit him and her. She was flung terribly hard against a rock,. She groaned in pain as she fell to the ground.
Rachel struggled to move, a piercing pain erupted in her side causing her to yelp. Rocks and flames shot down all around her, she looked around, and only twenty feet away, lied Gruber. Who no longer moved.
She cried out as a large rock fell, and she had no where to go, she covered the glass of her helmet defensively as it crashed down upon her. As the rock's rain of hell became more brutal, it all resolved so quickly to complete calmness. Rachel used every bit of strength she possessed and shoved the rock off of her, again whimpering at the terrible pain in her side. She heard Chick shout to Harry across the comm,
"Do you believe that just happened?!"
Harry spoke, "Sharp you all right?"
"Yeah, I'm here Harry."
"Yeah, I'm ok." AJ stared down at Gruber, he spoke quietly, "We lost Gruber. Gruber's dead."
Sharp looked around, "Rachel?"
She slowly stood to her feet, and staggered lightly to the side,
Harry spoke, "Are you alright?"
Rachel straightened, she smiled falsely, "Yeah. Great."
"Lets get the bomb ready and go home."
T Minus 20 minutes - Day 1
"Oh my god." Sharp said as he lowered the nuke. The bomb beeped several times every few seconds, Harry spoke,
"Is there a problem Colonel?"
"The timer the remote, the whole thing's dead!"
Rachel looked over his shoulder, frowning. AJ spoke in dread,
"What- The bomb is dead?"
"Nah, the triggers dead…It must have gotten damaged during the rock storm." Sharp said as he looked up.
Rachel realizing what this meant spoke, "Is there someway we can fix it? I have the training for it."
"No, the wires, the controls, everything is completely destroyed."
Harry stared at Sharp, "How do we detonate it?"
Sharp looked him in the eyes, having to say nothing. Harry already knew.
Rachel sighed, "Lets get this bomb lowered in the hole first."
Slowly, but surely the bomb was tipped down the hole, taking not long. Rachel thought in dread, knowing she should stay behind and detonate the bomb, but knew Harry would get in the way. But still, she would go it with everything she had, she needed to stay behind, she would cause the least amount of emotional damage, it only made sense.
They sat around in the cargo bay, Sharp spoke,
"It takes two people to fly this thing, either we all stay and die, or you guys draw straws."
Rockhound who was staring at the ceiling spoke, "I say we all stay and die."
Everyone looked at him, he sighed, "But that's me."
"I'll draw. Let's draw." AJ said.
"Nobody's gonna draw straws. I'll stay and take care of it."
"Well, I can't live with that sort of thing." Chick spoke up.
"Nobody asked you if you could live with it, all right?" Harry fired back.
"Harry shut up." Rachel spoke. "You promised Grace, you would return. I promised no one. I'll stay."
Andropov stood up and shouted, "Bullshit! No way I will let you volunteer for this, so I can go back to my home country like the man who did not volunteer! No way!"
Bear held up his hands, "Hey man, let's draw, and let's see who's gonna stay up here and dance."
Rachel shook her head, "No, no one is drawing straws to see who stays her to die. I volunteered, my death means less."
The look Harry gave her, made her blood run cold. Everybody had gone silent, when Rockhound finally spoke, "Hey guys? I-I know you guys think I'm crazy right now but, I would really like this responsibility."
Rachel shot Harry a suspicious look as he suddenly agreed to drawing straws. "All right. All right."
"I can do it!" Rockhound said shrilly.
"Let's just draw straws and get it over with. Come on."
Chick shook his head, "I ain't drawin' against you, Harry."
Rachel stood up, "Likewise Harry."
"Well, I'm gonna draw against you guys, so you better just go ahead and do it."
Sharp took a step forward and held up seven wires.
"Just gimme this thing." Chick said grabbing it from Sharp.
Rachel growled and pulled it from his hand. His eyes connected with hers, there was a certain dread about them, as if he didn't want her to stay. Her eyes flickered curiously, though she backed up and looked at her straw. It was short, and short was definitely bad.
Andropov looked at his wire, and frowned, "Is this good, or bad?" His wire was extremely long, Rachel smiled bitterly, "Long is good."
AJ shook his head, he had drawn the shortest wire. "Oh man. Well, we all gotta die right? I'm the guy who gets to do it saving the world."
AJ continued, "So, uh, lets go, we got ten minutes right?"
Sharp walked up to him, "You plug this into the port, lift, press, hold. That's it."
AJ echoed, "Lift, press, hold. Shouldn't be too tough. Even I can't screw this up." He smiled bitterly. Rachel shook her head,
"AJ, you just saved the entire world by continuing on gut instinct to drill that hole, when none of us would have done so."
Harry spoke quietly, "I'll take him down."
Rachel's head shot his way, his eyes connecting with hers. There was something there, she knew he was holding. He wasn't going to let AJ sacrifice himself. He just wouldn't. Rachel wanted to say something, but knowing Harry, he needed to stay behind, it was the only way he would ever be satisfied.
He made it his duty. Rachel was always loyal to Harry, she looked away as she knew this was it. Her eyes reconnected, though filled with tears this time. He nodded his head, Rachel returning it, to the bravest man she had ever met.
AJ and Harry stepped into the lift, the doors shut. Bear stared at AJ tearfully, Chick waved, Andropov couldn't stand the sight of his new American friend leaving to sacrifice himself; turned away.
Harry looked at AJ slowly, what he was going to do, already there, and about to be accomplished. As the lift door opened, AJ spoke,
"Do me a favor will ya'? Just tell Grace that, uh, that I'll always be with her. Okay? Can you do that?" His voice began cracking, his lips trembled. He knew he would never see her again, and that thought terrified him.
AJ stepped off the lift, looking around deciding where he should head first.
"Yeah. Okay kid." Harry responded softly.
Suddenly Harry reached down, grabbing hold of AJ's oxygen tube, and pulled it loose. AJ whipped around, his gloved hand going to the globe of the helmet, he tried to breathe, but all the air in his suit was gone.
Harry ripped his special missions' patch from his own suit, sticking it in AJ's pocket he spoke quickly.
"Give this to Truman. Make sure Truman gets that!"
He shoved AJ forcefully backwards into the lift, "Get in there!" Harry closed the door from the outside, as AJ yanked his helmet off. Harry spoke calmly,
"It's my turn now."
AJ screamed, tears already welling up in his eyes, "HARRY! HARRY! You can't do this to me! It's my job!!"
Harry's eyes glistened with tears as he walked around the lift, he spoke sincerely,
"You go take care of my little girl now. That's your job."
He paused, staring at AJ. AJ's lips trembled, tears rolled down his face as Harry spoke again,
"Always thought of you as a son. Always."
AJ shook his head, as Harry continued,
"But, I'd be damn proud to have you marry Grace."
AJ managed to speak, his voice barely making it out in more than a whisper, "Harry."
Harry breathed as he hit the lift button, "You take care of yourself."
As it began rising, AJ fell to his knees, screaming, tears flowing,
Harry bit back the tears, that threatened to pour from his own eyes. "I love you, boy."
"Harry, I love you! Don't Harry! Wait a minute! Harry, no!!" AJ fell to the bottom of the lift, refusing to let go, not wanting to leave Harry. Harry barely managed to whisper as the knot grew in his throat,
As the lift reached the top, the doors opened. They stared at him. One glance was all it took, and it all became too much. Rachel turned away as tears began rolling down her face freely. Her body shuddered as she had just lost the man, the one man in this world she had truly thought of as a father. The bravest man the world had ever seen.
Rockhound spoke, "What happened?"
Chick growled, "That crazy stubborn son of bitch." He grabbed AJ's hand and hauled him to his feet. The tears still were streaming down AJ's face. Harry's voice suddenly echoed over Sharp's comm,
"Well…This was a real good idea. All right, lets go Sharp, lets get the team out of here."
"INITIATE LOCKDOWN! PREPARE FOR EVAC!"
Bear was quickly strapping Andropov in, Chick helping AJ. As Bear sat down, Rachel began strapping him in, as she yanked hard on the strap and she was suddenly struck with a severe pain in her upper right side. Bear looked at her curiously as she nearly yelped,
"You all right?"
Rachel couldn't smile, she nodded her head, lying through her tear stained face, "Yeah Bear, I'm fine.
"Houston do you copy? This is Harry Stamper."
Quincy led Grace towards the screen area, she sat down as Sharp's voice echoed over the comm,
"Houston we are at T Minus 3 minutes."
She looked at the screen to see Harry, "Daddy?"
"Hi Gracie." Harry said with a tearful smile.
"Grace, I know I promised you I was coming home." Harry said with a deep sigh. Grace's mouth opened, her face paling, she struggled to speak,
"I-I don't under-understand."
Harry looked her in the eyes, and sighed sorrowfully, "Looks like I'm gonna have to break that promise."
Grace's eyes began to water, as she looked off and took a breath, "I am…I lied to you too….When I told you, I didn't want to be like you." She smiled through her tears,
"Because I am like you. And everything good I have inside of me, I have from you."
Tears formed at the edges of Harry's eyes, it took every ounce of control he had to not burst out crying.
"I love you so much Daddy…And I am so proud of you." Grace spoke, her voice beginning to crack. "I'm so scared….so scared."
"I know baby, but there won't be anything to be scared of soon. Gracie, I want you to know that AJ saved us. He did." Tears began rolling down AJ's cheeks again as he listened to Harry talk.
Rachel bit down on her hand, to prevent from sobbing, tears relentlessly poured from her eyes.
"And I want you to tell Chick, that I couldn't have done it without him." Chick smiled through his tears as his body convulsed slightly in restraint. Before Harry was done, he smiled tearfully, "Oh, I want you to tell Rachel, that I approve."
Rachel broke down, tears falling freely. She made no noise, she did not shudder, but she did feel the terrible ache of her heart, knowing they were all going to lose Harry.
"I went to see your granddad, right before I came up here Grace. He told me that God gives us children so that we can have roses in December….but he gave me a garden full."
Grace smiled through the tears welling up in her eyes, Harry smiling through tears as well…. "A whole garden full, Grace, he really did." Tears slowly began to fall from her eyes, as she smiled at the father, she would never see again in a few minutes.
"I wish I could be there to walk you down the aisle. But I'll drop in on ya' from time to time, okay honey?" Tears rolled down his face, "I love you Grace."
Grace sobbed slightly, and spoke hoarsely, "I love you too."
"I've gotta go now, honey." Grace cried, "Daddy no…" The screen became fuzzy as Harry turned the video off.
"No, no, no dad no." Grace murmured to herself, as her hand went to the screen, her head bent down as she began to sob. She was never going to see her father again…and the pain in knowing that was incomprehensible. She spoke quietly,
"I love you daddy. I love you."
"OMS pre start. 02 vents locked, pressure loaded." Watts spoke as the engine roared to life of the shuttle.
"What the hell is going on up there, why haven't you guys left yet?" Harry said across the comm.
Sharp replied, "We're going Harry. Houston! We got OMS pods for pre start."
The engine started, as the thrusters began roaring to life, suddenly they shut off instantly. A look of sheer shock crossed Sharp's features,
"What's the problem?"
"I don't know." Watts replied immediately.
Andropov shouted, "What's wrong?!"
Sharp spoke firmly, "Fix it now!"
The thrusters started again, only to die once more. Watts jumped on her feet, taking off to the engines compartment.
"We've got no time, no time!" Sharp called out after her.
Andropov rolled his eyes, and yanked his seat belts off, standing up grudgingly and following Watts. They both quickly dropped down into the engine shaft, Rockhound spoke in irritation,
"Oh come on We're staying, we're going, we're staying, we're going, make up your mind!"
Harry spoke across the comm, "Damn it Sharp get out of here! You've got less than three minutes!"
Watts tore into the small cubicle type room, she began reading many dials of the components.
Sharp began jittering in his seat, "Oh come on Watts, Come on, come on!"
Rockhound who was still suffering from space dementia, spoke out, "Blow the bomb Harry! We're with ya'!"
Rachel looked around, "Do I need to go down there? I have a bit of experience with malfunctioning engines."
Sharp looked at her, "Yeah, you might as well, you might be able to do something."
Rachel nodded her head, and quickly unstrapped herself, she darted down in the lower compartments. Andropov spoke,
"It's stuck yes?"
Watts shouted, "Back off! You don't know the components!"
Andropov replied, "Components. American components, Russian Components, ALL MADE IN TAIWAN!"
Rachel would have laughed if they were not in the dire need to escape at the moment. Sharp shouted,
"Houston! We have no fire!"
Rockhound piping up, "What does that mean?"
Sharp looked at him once as he pushed the thrusters button repeatedly, "It's mean we've got a busted ship."
Rockhound gave him a wide eyed look and spoke seriously, "A busted ship? And I'm strapped in here? I had a great spot picked out there!"
Chick growled, "Rockhound if you don't shut up, so help me God I am going to send Rachel after you."
The ground of the asteroid began to split and shake once more as Harry shouted across the comm, "You've got less than a minute, don't think I won't blow this thing!"
Harry was suddenly slammed with a rock, he slid down to the ground and managed to groan,
"Sharp get outta here, it's getting bad down here."
Rachel entered the components room, Andropov spoke,
"I, uh, know how to fix it, please move. I-I uh, have to take you away if you don't move." Rachel leaned away, hinting the warning tone in Andropov's unusually calm voice.
Harry shouted, "DAMN IT SHARP GET OFF THIS ROCK!"
The ground began to split apart beneath the shuttle. Harry pulled himself to his feet, watching the ground carefully, so as to not fall.
Rachel looked at the machine, and knew there was nothing wrong with it. It was a simple malfunction of technology, and honestly she had no idea how to fix it. Andropov spoke again warningly, his tone more annoyed this time,
"I'm telling you, PLEASE MOVE!" He grabbed a hold of Watts and threw her against the wall, she stared at him in bewilderment. Rachel ducked as he grabbed the large tool and began yelling,
"This is how we fix problems in Russian SPACE STATION!" He began beating on the components box viscously and continued,
"BECAUSE I DON'T WANT TO STAY HERE ANYMORE-I-" Suddenly the thrusters exploded to life, Rachel stared and then spoke,
"…Well that is one way to fix an unbroken shuttle."
Andropov shouted, "Yes! Finally! We can go home!"
Rachel muttered as she climbed up the ladder, lightning quick, "Amen to that Lev." That sharp pain in her side suddenly struck again, though far worse this time. She crumpled into her seat, barely being able to strap herself in. She refrained from crying out in pain, Rachel wasn't sure what was wrong, but she definitely needed medical attention.
Obviously, she was far more injured than she had originally thought.
Harry muttered across the comm towards the asteroid, "Spray all you want, you son of bitch."
Watts leapt into her seat, Sharp spoke quickly,
"Initiate thrusters on my mark, 2, 1 go!"
The thrusters exploded to life once more. They were thrown back against their seats, Rachel nearly cried out in pain as the sharp stitch in her side returned. She bit her lip determinedly, to not utter a sound, to not let weakness show.
They launched off the asteroid, though were not clear, Rachel closed her eyes as they weaved in between many tall standing rocks and continued to rise. They were going to make it, they were going to make it.
Her eyes opened as Sharp looked back and spoke through the comm,
"Thank you Harry."
Explosions began rocketing out of the asteroid, Harry looked off to the side, his eyes widening at the sight. He turned trying to escape, only to be caught on top of one, he was thrown mercilessly in the air.
Sharp licked his lips nervously,
"Too much time has gone by."
Sharp spoke, "We're going back and doing it ourselves." His hand reached for the reverse controls.
Chick cut him off, "Just don't, wait one minute."
Harry fought against the hole, against the terrible winds raging across the asteroid. He. Would. Not. Fail. He didn't know how to, and wouldn't accept defeat. Harry forced himself forward, climbing slowly out of the hole he had been thrown into, not stopping, never stopping.
Sharp's hand fell on the reverse controls this time, Chick shouted,
"Colonel! I'm asking you, just one more minute!"
Harry's hand touched the surface, digging desperately, pulling himself forward towards the detonator. He leapt forward, his hand falling upon it.
AJ spoke quietly and assuredly, "Harry will do it, I know it. He doesn't know how to fail."
Harry looked upwards, his eyes falling upon the earth. He flipped the top, and just before he pushed, he spoke,
"We win Gracie."
Just as he closed his eyes, Freddy, Oscar, and Max all appeared before him. Smiles everlasting, his finger fell upon the button, and held. The terrible screech of the final beep, and then the explosion rung out.
And there was Grace.
The nuclear bomb ran deep, tearing the rock apart, shredding it into two halves just as it passed the zero barrier.
They cringed at the bright light, turning their heads or covering their faces. As the two halves were propelled past the earth, Sharp spoke softly,
"Houston, we're coming in."
"We copy that, Freedom."
Bear's deep voice spoke up, "Harry…You the man." They all nodded their heads, and sat in silence.
"Kennedy, we see you…and you never looked so good." Sharp spoke..
Chick spoke up, "I never told anybody this before, but I hate flyin'. So it would be an awful shame to die now."
Rockhound grunted, "That's easy for you to say. I owe 100 grand to a fat-ass loan shark which I spent on a stripper named Molly Mounds."
Chick agreed, "Boy, that's bad."
Rachel suddenly felt very sick, she felt a warm liquid forming at the edge of her lips. Her gloved hand wiped it away, only to reveal smeared blood across her hand. Dread struck her, as she know knew what happened, her breath began to become ragged and weak.
She forced herself to be all right. Rachel wouldn't allow herself to collapse now…The shuttle began to shake as the passed through back in the Earth's atmosphere. Rachel bit down on her hand, only to find blood covering it from her mouth.
She needed a medical attention and quickly. As the wheels hit the runway, several Military hummer's headed their way. A crowd had gathered to greet them. Sharp stood up,
"Welcome home Astronauts."
Rachel stood slowly, ignoring the pain in her side. As the landing slide was let loose, Rockhound spoke,
"If you guys remember, w-were heroes now, so that incident with me and the gun on the asteroid lets keep that under the wraps, okay?" He clapped AJ on the back, before jumping down. Rachel smiled and shook her head, Chick and Bear went down. Rachel looked at AJ and grinned,
"You did it."
AJ smiled, "No. We did it."
They jumped, Rachel nearly cried out in the pain in her side, she again bit down on her j;I[ and ignored it. Forcing herself to look all right. Rachel, Chick and Bear stood at the edge as Andropov came down, he hopped a little, Rachel grabbed him to prevent him from falling. Sharp jumped down, she grabbed his arm to brace him.
The charming look he had sent her way, sent chills up her spine, she grinned softly. As Watts came down, Chick and Bear suddenly jumped back, leaving Rachel to grab a hold of her, nearly pulling herself down as well.
"What the hell was that?" Rachel growled.
Chick muttered, "Last time I tried to help a woman, she charged me for sexual assault."
Bear shrugged in response, "He told me the story, I was just being cautious."
Rachel shook her head, a slight smile forming at the edges of her mouth. A large crowd headed their way, as helicopters flew over. They walked towards the large crowd, waiting. Rachel's eyes wandered around their group, on their way to the asteroid, it was so thick…now…She was impacted with how devastating the deaths had been.
They all died fighting for the world, several died in terror, and now being the heroes they were, they would never return home. Grace charged from the back of the crowd, AJ broke into a run to meet her. They jumped into each other's arms, the crowd exploded into applause in response.
Bear was met by his parents, Rachel smiled as she knew they hadn't talked nor seen each other in a long time. Sharp was attacked by his little girls, and she couldn't help but grin at the sound of their laughter, and his.
Rachel and Chick walked by having no one to greet them. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw a red haired woman appear, a little boy charging past her. He hopped every few steps, his arms held out wide, Chick dropped into a crouching position, picking the little boy up, who hugged him very tightly.
The woman smiled, a look of pride crossed her face as she looked at Chick. She was proud of him, very. She approached him, as Chick buried his face in the little boy, tears welled up in his eyes, she pulled his face towards hers. Chick murmured softly, "I love ya', Diane. Always did."
She nodded her head, her eyes were bloodshot from lack of sleep and many tears.
Grace rubbed her hand softly across AJ's face. Sharp appeared before them he spoke,
They parted slightly, she turned to face him curiously. He snapped to attention and saluted,
"Colonel Willie Sharp, United States Air Force Ma'am."
Grace's eyes remained locked with his as he continued, "Requesting permission, to shake the hand of the daughter of the bravest man I have ever met."
Tears formed in her eyes as she shook his hand firmly, he nodded his head towards AJ. And took his leave. Rockhound was looking around, when suddenly a woman spoke,
Rockhound looked at her, his eyes widened, "Oh my god!"
"Hi, you're my hero!"
Molly tackled him to the ground, Rockhound spoke,
"Oh baby, I wanna have babies with you." She kissed him repeatedly.
Truman approached AJ and Grace, he smiled,
"Welcome back Cowboy."
AJ looked down and handed Truman the shuttle mission's patch, "Uh, Harry wanted you to have this."
Truman accepted it, he looked at it, and smiled, "He did, huh?"
He continued looking at the patch as six f-15 jets roared over in formation, and in honor of the fallen Astronauts, and in honor of those that had returned.
Rachel limped into the NASA building, towards the medical office. She stopped momentarily to lean against the wall, it was becoming extremely difficult for her to see clearly, much less walk correctly.
She stumbled into the office, the doctor looked up,
She croaked out, "I-I think I'm dying Doc."
Now being away from the crowds, the press, her friends, she collapsed. She grabbed her side in pain, the doctor's eyes widened as the blood dripped from her mouth. His hand slammed down on the alarm button, he spoke quickly,
"Velsing, can you stand?"
Rachel struggled to her feet, and nearly collapsed again, her breath becoming extremely ragged. She suddenly stopped, her face paling several shades all at once. Other nurses and doctors rushed in, having to haul Rachel onto a gurney.
Truman clapped a hand on Sharp's back. He smiled at him, when Quincy ran up, breathlessly speaking,
"Rachel's just collapsed in the medical office. Doc doesn't know what's wrong yet, but apparently she knows she's dying."
Truman shot Sharp an alarmed look, Sharp growled,
"Damn it, She said she was fine."
They all broke into a run, Truman shouted,
"What happened up there?!"
"There was a rock storm." Sharp replied as they entered the medical portion of the NASA station. They stopped outside the glass window, peering in. Doctors and nurses rushed around with miscellaneous medical instruments. Sharp stared at Rachel's pale face, the machine beeped slowly, and faintly. Though she was alive.
His hand wiped across his face quickly, his breath coming quickly, though he was no longer out of breath. Truman looked at him and spoke softly,
"Something going on between you two?"
Sharp looked at him once, his eyes narrowed cautiously. He looked back to Rachel, remaining silent. Truman nodded his head.
Sharp shook his head, looking downwards. He replied quietly, "It was a one time thing."
Truman raised his eyebrows as he stared into the room, Sharp chuckled bitterly, "No, sir. It was only a kiss."
He leaned against the window sill, the many emotions he felt, the 'thing' they shared racing through his mind all at once. It drove him insane, how his emotions controlled him so strongly, even though he had only known her for 12 days. Sharp sighed in defeat, he looked downwards. Only to snap up as the machine began to beep quicker, and quicker. The doctor shouted,
"1, 2, 3 CLEAR!"
There was no response.
"1, 2, 3 CLEAR!"
Sharp stared, his mind whirling in horror. Though he hadn't known half the terror, when Rachel's heart stopped.
1 month later
Sharp stood sorrowfully before the tombstone, he spoke softly,
"You know, a day doesn't go by that Jasmine and Katie don't ask about you. It hurts me terribly to have to tell them, that you aren't ever coming back."
He crouched down, his reflection showing in the bright marble stone.
"I pushed for your history to be revised, they removed your dishonorable discharge and you were awarded the silver star in addition to the bronze star for your service in space."
"You deserve it. I've never met any woman quite as brave as you were Rache, and I don't think I ever will again. I'm sorry that we never got to even know each other better, I know I wanted to, hell, I don't think was time up there that I had ever stopped thinking about you."
"You just had that kind of effect on me…I'm gonna miss ya' Rache."
Sharp stood up slowly, his eyes scanning over the stone before turning to leave, and never return due to the pain it caused him. Two woman had ever felt love for so quickly, and both had passed on, much too quickly. Rachel died in complete terror and pain unlike his wife.
That day only a month ago, Rachel's heart had stopped three times in twenty minutes. The doctors were astounded that she had come back each time, on the fourth time, Rachel just didn't have it to fight anymore. It turned out she had severely broken three ribs, the first one the worst of all. It had completely broken off, and through the work in space and her constant continuous movement, it became lodged in her heart and caused internal bleeding.
Even though she died while unconscious, the doctor said she had died in without a doubt, tremendous pain.
He continued on down, his eyes falling on the tombstones of the other fallen Astronauts, the ones that would never return to earth, but would always be remembered as the greatest heroes of all time.
The journey hadn't only been a mission but the distance humans would go for love and friendships, for life…It had been the high note of the history of mankind.
Sorry this chapter took so long guys, but if you notice it is significantly longer than my other ones. I honestly couldn't find a good stopping point until now.
Thank you guys so much for reading, and to those who left reviews x)
R T R:
Darthbane2007 - I'm glad you like it! Thanks! As for the Rachel's 'escape', she used the same concept as AJ did with the Armadillo, except she did it to travel faster than simple walking. In reality, it would work, but would be extremely dangerous and highly not recommended, but seeing as it was a last resort, and judging Rachel's character it seemed appropriate. Thanks for reading and reviewing, I hoped that help some!
Bunny94 - Nah, but it does make you feel like crap xP I love Oscar too x) As for your question, just read the above answer to the same question x) Thanks for reading and reviewing!
Anybody else wanna review? Come on all it takes is thirty seconds x)
1966 - 1998