Author's Note- I've been putting this project off for too long. I'm going to balance between this, and another story I've been working on...

Please read and review!

A story by John Henry Freeman

Through The Storm

Chapter 1-

It was a cold, dark, and stormy night. Winds over twenty-five knots tore through the woods, dropping and channeling their force wherever a trail or some other opening was present. The trees bent over slightly, their branches whipped into frenzy at the tops of the trees. Whatever cold temperature was already present was made more pronounced by the wind chill. The only upside, however, was the fact that it was only wind. The snow had yet to arrive.

In the distance, there was a break in the forest. It was a long rectangular piece of land, with a strip of packed dirt in its center. On the edges of the strip of land was tall grass, turned grey with age as the year descended into the winter season. The grass now laid flat, the wind mowing it down where it stood, rippling and billowing. At the far end of the airfield, there was an old dilapidated hangar with two levels and a control tower, and a grayed old windsock fluttering slightly, but nonetheless stretched completely horizontally by the gusty winds.

The old abandoned airfield gave an air of loneliness, and the sense of an era long gone. It was the remains of a small airbase that had been constructed in the First World War, when the first and few fighter aircraft had taken to the skies for their deadly aerial ballet. Now, not a single pilot or aircraft occupied the hangar… or so one would think. From a distance a person could only see the aged old buildings, their weathered sides grey against the surrounding greenery. However, if someone took a closer look they would find that the old base was not abandoned. Their every move would be seen by the lone figure standing in the control tower.

He was dressed in a green "Class A" army uniform of the United States Army, and his markings ranked him as a Technical Sergeant. However this was not his rank, nor did he hold any rank at all! Though one could assume otherwise, the man watching was not but a simple civilian. He was young, and appeared to only be sixteen years of age, with blue eyes and black hair in a shag cut and a wiry and even-muscled form. He stood with an air of confidence, shoulders back and head high, with a fine stature and hardened attitude. However, this was not his common demeanor. Normally, the young man was a kind and respectful person, who followed the ways of his elders. In the end, however, he was still just a sixteen year old kid.

Sighing, he turned around and headed for a stairway behind him. The rickety old steps groaned as he descended them to the second level of the hangar, where he could smell wood smoke from a stove. The upstairs level was divided into two rooms, the main room with the stairs and access to the main hangar, and another room for the now nonexistent commanding officer. He turned for the door to the CO's quarters, and quietly pushed the door open to reveal an orange glow of firelight. The room was nicely furnished, with a single armchair and a desk at one end and a wood stove in the corner. Behind the desk was a large window, with the same plates of glass as on the upper half of the hangar doors. They rattled violently in their panes, an uneven and staccato rattle like the roll of a drum. At this time a few flakes of snow began to drift by the window, and the young man turned away crestfallen. There was a small oil lamp hanging from the ceiling, which he had lit along with the wood stove earlier upon his arrival. He liked the smell, and it calmed his nerves as he entered the room.

Shutting the door behind him, he then made his way toward the stove, where a figure lay stretched out on their back, arms splayed out at different angles. The figure, a girl that was around the same age as the young man, lay on an old rug that had already been laying in front of the stove. She was around five feet tall, with sandy blond hair drawn into a thick braid. She wore a tan sweater vest, with a white dress shirt and dark green tie. For her outermost layer, she had been wearing the "close to black" uniform of the RAF, or Royal Air Force. This was now in a roll under her head, serving as a pillow. Last of all and much to the surprise of the young man, she wore no pants. She only wore a pair of panties; white silk with a little decorative green bow the same color as her tie. This was exactly as how he had found her… or in another sense, how she had found him.

He quietly made his way to a corner of the room, where a simple hard-backed chair sat. He then brought the chair back to the fireplace, and set it at a spot where he could watch the girl, putting the chair's back to her. He then unbuttoned his uniform, and slid his arms out of the sleeves only to set the squared shoulders back onto his own.

More flakes began to dance by the window.

Quietly sitting down, and folding his arms across the back of the chair, he rested his head on them. He watched her adjust, and she now lie on her back. He watched her chest slowly rise and fall with each breath she took. Quickly the heat took its toll, and bit by bit the young man's eyes became watery. Within the hour he was asleep, and the days events came flooding back into his mind.

_-=| Hours Earlier… |=-_

He jerked awake to the roar of an engine, an aircraft engine. He shook his head to take the sleep out of his mind, and was surprisingly alert. He was in a flight harness, and his right hand gripped the top "ring" of a metal flight yoke.

"My plane?" he mumbled wearily.

He looked around, and found a horizon outside his fighter's canopy. It was pitching upwards, and the blue nose of his plane pointed toward a forest below him. Snapping to action, he pulled back on the stick and the nose came up again. His radio squawked with the sound of a concerned friend.

"Hey Cameron, are you okay?" the other man shouted.

"Yeah, I'm fine. Why do you ask?"

"You just nosed down like you went limp on the controls! Did you pass out?"

The plane continued to roar onward, streaking over lush green trees.

"No, I don't think I did," he said in a confused reply.

The radio remained silent for a few minutes, and Cameron glanced around the cockpit, checking his controls. He banked a bit to the right, and brought the aircraft in a wide turn. Memories started coming back to him. He realized he was back where he had always been; shooting over the lush green forests of Britain. He had been training for an air show that was scheduled for the next day, and was planning to do a dogfight with advanced combat maneuvers. Straightening out of the bank, he saw an aircraft in the distance, a FIAT G-55 Centauro. It was a fight of British ingenuity versus Italian elegance and craftsmanship.

As he came nearer to the Italian fighter, he brought his own plane around in a tight bank and settled in to the left side. The pilot of the other fighter waved, and Cameron saw him waving through his canopy.

"See, I'm good."

"That's great. Just don't pull that crap again!"

The two continued on, weaving between the hills in the forest. Eventually they came upon a town, which to the surprise of both men abandoned and decaying.

"Wait, what town was that?" the friend said worriedly.

"I don't know. I didn't even know there was an old town out here!"

As both men puzzled over what they had found, they looked forward to find that they were coming up on a mountain. Above the mountain was the shroud of thick, grey fog. Both Cameron and the other pilot shied away, not wanting to get lost in the fog. The last thing either of them wanted were their "survivor planes" smudging the side of a British mountain.

"I don't like the look of that fog," Cameron said.

He looked up and above his plane through the canopy, and watched the fog roll over the planes at an altitude a few thousand feet higher. Rocking his wings, he banked away in the direction they had come. His friend did the same. To their amazement however, the fog had come behind them.

"What the hell is this? We've got to climb to miss those hills!" Cameron said.

He pulled back, and his plane's nose covered the horizon. The plane climbed higher and higher, and eventually he leveled the craft out at five-thousand feet. The fog became thicker and thicker as he flew on, and soon he heard a tapping noise. It became more and more concentrated, until he realized that it was hail hitting the plane. With a pull on the adjacent levers he regulated the fuel mixture, and then followed that up by adjusting the switches on his panel for de-icing.

"How are you doing back there?" he asked his friend.

"Sounds like I'm standing near a piss-poor San Francisco street performance!"

Cameron laughed, and watched as the hail began to mix with flakes of snow. He eyed an exterior temperature gauge, which told him that the air temperature outside the aircraft was rapidly dropping into negative numbers.

"What the hell is this? Are you getting negative ten on your temp gauge?"

"Yeah, and dropping!"

The plane roared onward, and Cameron once more adjusted the mixture. He had fully closed the cowl flaps on the engine, so as to get as much heat as possible on it. The weather only got nastier and nastier.

"Are you icing?" Cameron asked the Fiat pilot in concern.

The man began to reply, only to have his transmission garbled by interference.

"Can you repeat, you're cutting out."

The radio crackled again, but soon cut to static. Lights began to dance outside of the aircraft, and a low rumble shook the airframe.

"What in the hell… have I gotten myself into?" he asked himself.

The plane continued to push through the fog, and streaks of light forked outside the plane and onto the wings. The lightning however was green, much to Cameron's uneasy curiosity. He pulled the nose up again, only to find the controls to be sluggish. They were icing up. He called to the Fiat pilot in earnest, but only received static. He began to sweat in his uniform, and began to throw the controls back and forth in his hands. He had to do what he could to keep them free from ice. Cameron began to pray silently, and continued to pull the nose of his fighter up in hopes of pushing out of the cloud cover.

"C'mon damnit… you can do it girl."

He patted the side of the cockpit lovingly.

"Just do this for me, I pray to god you can do it."

He rubbed the fuselage.

"C'MON!" he shouted, and he banged the frame with his fist.

Suddenly, he was hit with a blinding light. His pupils quickly adjusted, to uncover a fluffy white world around his plane. He was above the clouds.

"YEAH! I DID IT! I'M OUT!" he shouted in triumph.

He playfully rolled the plane, and brought it back on even keel. Noticing that the aircraft's controls were now freer in his hands. He descended a few hundred feet, and began to skim along the surface of the clouds. He could no longer see the forest below, or anything else for that matter. Looking around, he only saw miles, and miles, and miles… of clouds.

"What in the hell?" he though.

He continued along on course, searching for an end to the cloud cover. Ahead of his aircraft loomed a large cumulus cloud. Without giving half a thought, he shot through the billowing mists and out the other side, to reveal the vast greenery of the forest once more. Sensing that the thick of the storm was over, he descended toward the woods until his altimeter read seven-thousand feet.

"Hey buddy, you okay?" he called over the radio to the Fiat pilot.

He waited and waited, but recieved no answer from the pilot. Checking his fuel gauge, he figured he had enough fuel.

"To hell with it, I'm looking for him."

With that, he tossed the yoke to the right and made a sharp bank. This brought the massive wall of fog and storm back into view, which made Cameron cringe with uneasiness. He scanned along the top, making his way down and looking from left to right. He still had no sight of the Fiat. Banking left, he began to scout along the bottom edge of the billowing fog. Every so often, he would call out on the radio. Every time he would recieve no answer. He continued to search, though his efforts were in vain. Eventually an hour had gone by, and Cameron decided that he had to return, otherwise he would either crash like his lost companion, or come in on fumes.

"DAMN IT!" he shouted as he shoved the throttles forward.

In defeat, he turned away from the fogbank. Setting his radios, he then began to make his way back to the coast.

"I can't believe it," he said. "I lost him. I got him killed."

He climbed to an altitude of ten-thousand feet, and continued to cruise along. The fog was mostly dissipated now, though the center of the large mass continued to cling to the mountain. The sound of the fighter's engine was dull, and did little to help with the feeling of loss. The plane now was cruising toward an area of the woods that appeared to be flatter, but still fairly hilly. Cameron became confused as he continued on.

"Where in the hell am I? I should be getting closer to the coast shouldn't I?"

He consulted his GPS navigator, only to find that he had no signal or satellite access. The sense of helplessness was growing, and now grew further still with the discovery of no navigation aids. Cameron then began to methodically check his other navigation equipment. Radio beacons? None. Radio? Still no signal. Navigational maps? Busy flying an aircraft with no autopilot.

The plane continued on an even keel, for what seemed to be an eternity to him. He began to think about what had happened in the fog bank, and why it had so easily claimed the Fiat. What sort of phenomenon had occurred? And what was with that damned green lightning? There were simply too many questions to answer at the time. His weary eyes eventually stopped scanning the gauges of the aircraft. They began to wander across the windshield, lazily scanning the horizon before him. They continued to scan the horizon, daydreams coming alive and wishes dying... when he saw something.

A lowly speck, about two miles off and a few thousand feet above.

He watched the speck as it grew larger, and larger, and larger in his window. He remained at his altitude, not knowing what it was exactly. He was completely distracted by what he now saw in better detail above his aircraft. It was a figure. A human-shaped figure that either appeared to be floating... or flying.

"What in the hell?" he said to nobody in particular.

He passed by the figure above, and made another turn. He returned his gaze to the figure, who seemed to take notice of his presence. They seemed to scrutinize his fighter as he cruised by, and held some sort of long shaft. Upon closer inspection, he understood what he was seeing.

"Oh Jesus, I'm being gunned down!"

He looked at the figure again, and watched. They continued to keep a watch on his aircraft, but slowly lowered their weapon. Cameron quickly took the fighter a few miles away from the sniper.

"Where in the hell am I?" he wondered.

The person now looked like a speck with legs. They would weave back and forth every so often, but commonly the current position was maintained. His curiosity burning, Cameron began to make a lazy ascent toward the figure in the sky. He made his way every few hundred feet, keeping a constant watch on the person with the rifle. As he made a thousand foot increase in his altitude, another speck appeared in the distance moving fast and straight. Squinting, he still could not make out any sort of characteristics on this new apparition. He could say one thing for certain; it appeared to be noticably larger than his plane. The new object came rapidly closer, not at all appearing to be a threat thus far... until the sniper drew a bead on the new target.

And fired.

The report of the rifle was heard through the roar of the engine, which surprised Cameron. Seeing as the sniper was distracted, he increased his ascent rate and put the throttle to its stops. Upon reaching his altitude, he threw the lever back and began to glide toward the person. More and more features became clearer and clearer, until he fully realized what he was looking at.

"My god, it's only a young girl!"

As his plane continued by her, he watched as she pulled the bolt back on her rifle. It appeared to be a rather large number, not fitting of someone her age and perportion due to the impossible weight of the weapon. Despite his disbelief, the figure continued to open fire on the speck as it got closer and closer. He then turned his attention to what the sniper was shooting at. It appeared to be a large black object, with some sort of honeycomb design on its exterior. It had some sort of red markings patterned on its surface, and the whole object itself appeared to be a crude type of aircraft. Cameron knew what he had to do.

Currently, the guns on his plane were not dismantled. Instead they still were allowed to operate, only firing paint shells for practice and airshow events. Not yet knowing the capabilities of this new aggressor, he knew he had to help this young girl in some way or another. He brought his plane above the object, and opened the lock on his weapons. As soon as he was ready, he put the nose of his plane in a dive, and fingered the trigger.

The girl on the other hand, watched dumbfounded as the fighter shot above her and the black mass. The only thought going through her mind was her concern for the pilot's safety, and not her own. Before she could warn the pilot, the black mass's red markings began to glow. All the events seemed to unfold in slow motion. The fighter pulled away in attempt to distract the "thing..." the girl was a split second too late in defending herself... and a red beam shot out from one of the markings, effectively detonationg the clip of ammunition on the rifle and severely damaging one of the devices she had keeping her aloft.

"Gotcha' you bastard!" the pilot shouted, thinking he was leading the object away.

He made a tight turn, and came back to see what was occurring. The black object had continued with its forward momentum, and the girl was nowhere to be seen. The only reminder of where she had been was a greasy black trail of smoke that led downward. Cameron's heart fell through his chest upon realizing what he had done. Without giving a second thought, he pointed the nose of his plane downward, idled the engine, and let gravity do its work as he plummeted. He could see the point of the greasy trail, and the girl still had a few thousand feet to fall.

"I'll be damned to hell if I let another person die because of another one of my screwups today!"

He got closer and closer to her, and watched. She seemed to be conscious, this being made evident by the fact that she was drunkenly flailing her legs and arms to regain control. Calculating his speed and altitude in his head, Cameron made a final decision. He angled his plane closer to the girl, who seemed to be able to see him again. He rocked his wings as a sign to follow, and the girl obeyed. She slowly began to drift toward his plane, and they only had five-thousand feet. As they got nearer, Cameron reached over and opened the latch on the canopy of his plane. The gust of wind slammed it back, and immediately pushed him back in his seat. He straightened his plane now, and only hoped his plan would work.

The girl came closer and closer, until she was above the canopy. There was only two-thousand feet left. Cameron then gently pulled back on the yoke, and the nose began to rise while simultaneously, the girl began to fall into the cockpit of the fighter. He wrapped his left arm tightly around her upper body, pulling her in on himself. He could feel a well-endowed chest pressing against his own, though that moment was not the time for such thoughts. For many years after the event, he would still wonder why he had noticed this. Her legs still hung outside the aircraft, but he knew she was safely on board. He gave a gentle tug on the yoke, and the nose came up more rapidly. His airspeed indicator read three-hundred fifty knots, and he had no desire for the plane to disintegrate when he had just achieved his goal. Just as they had only nine-hundred feet left, he brought the horizon level with the wings, and the airspeed slowly began to drop.

And the wind began to blow with a lesser ferocity.

_-=| Back to the Present... |=-_

"GAH!" Cameron exclaimed in a half-gasp, half-shout.

He sucked in deep shuddering breaths of air, and sat bolt upright in his seat. Still groggy from sleep, Cameron looked around the room. Objects around him started to come into focus. The desk, the armchair, the woodstove… and the girl. The girl who he had saved from plummeting into the forest below… the one who he had guided onto the wing of his plane. He rose from his seat, and quickly made his way to where she lie to look down and make sure she was safe and sound.

As he looked upon her face, he jumped as her eyes snapped open. After that, he found his gaze to be returned by a pair of dazzling blue eyes. He was too stunned to speak, and felt embarassed. He forced himself away and turned around so his back was to the fire.

"Are you... I mean... how are you feeling?" he said blushing.

The girl remained silent for a second, and began to sit up. She began to check if the man had done anything to her, and was content to find that she had been safe.

"I'm fine thank you," she said with a kind smile.

Cameron continued to stand silently with his back to the fire. Unknowingly, he had been holding his emotions back since losing the man in the Fiat, only having the load added to upon interfering with the dogfight. He began to take in uneven breaths, overwhelmed by the feelings of thankfulness and joy that he had allowed someone as young as himself the chance to live out the rest of their life. A single hot tear rolled down his cheek.

"I can't believe I've done something like this," he unknowingly mumbled to himself. "Someone as beautiful, and perfect as this... and it was my decision that almost got them... no... her... killed."

He stood quietly, enraged with himself and his actions. He did not know that the girl had heard every word.

"GOD DAMNIT!" he shouted, sinking to his knees.

The girl had risen to her feet, watching Cameron.

"Please stop, I'm alright! It's really okay!"

He continued to kneel, his expression dark and his head bowed. The girl came over to where he knelt, and put her hand on his shoulder.

"I hate it when people beat themselves up over me, or anyone else. I've done reckless things before that were just as dangerous as that."

Cameron continued to kneel, the heat from the fire pulsing against the back of his uniform.

"I'd really like to know your name, so I may properly thank you. I'm Lynette Bishop, a sergeant in the 501st Joint Fighter Wing."

Rising to his feet, he used the cuff of his uniform to wipe the moisture from his eyes.

"You're a wonderful person to meet, Lynette. I am Cameron Taylor, and unlike yourself I hold no rank. I am but a mere stunt pilot who performs at airshows, though my abilities come naturally to me. Back at home, many a pilot has said that my skills are comperable to that of the great aces of the Second World War... and thensome."

She smiled warmly, and Cameron felt a flutter in his chest.

"You are a wonderfully humble person, Cameron."

"And you are a wonderfully beautiful sergeant, Lynette."