Born to fly

a space 1999 fan fiction set season 1- characters John Koenig, Alan Carter, Paul Morrow and the rest .A friendship story.

How did John Koenig come to have such a strong friendship and respect with his chief pilot. An unforseen event makes Koenig recall the first meeting with Alan Carter.

Chapter 1- shake up

He ran his fingers lightly along her, hard callused fingertips trying to ingrain her image in his memory. "I guess this must finally be goodbye", he said to her. A lump was forming in his throat, they had been through a lot together but now finally it had to end.

"Koenig to Carter", for a moment he dared to ignore the voice knowing what he wanted. "Carter come in", Koenig had not added ' "now' but the tone said it very definitely. He moved over and pressed the button, "yes Commander", he asked. "Have you made your evaluation Alan", Koenig requested.

Alan gulped, suck it up ,he told himself, breath out, answer military style,"yes, sir I have taken in all variables and I am sorry to report that not all Eagles are salvageable ". I am going to have to use parts from one eagle to keep others in the air", Alan reported proud that his voice did not even shake.

Koenig blew out a breath, the eagles were the moons life line and even the loss of one could adversely affect their survival changes. Unfortunately they had already lost more than one. Yet he also knew that Alan would have already done all he could. He supposed he should be thankful the loss of Eagles was kept to a minimum. "Alright, thanks for your report Alan", he acknowledged. "Repair the other eagles, do what you can to keep the fleet flying."

"Aye sir",Alan replied. He broke off the communication noting that the commander had not asked which eagle was going to be sacrificed. It didn't matter to him, Alan supposed they were just machines afterall. That was of course what made his feelings seem silly and he was sure they would all be laughing at him if they saw him now. He brushed the small tear from his eye and touched the eagles cold surface again, "sorry old girl", he told Eagle one. "I never told you this but you were always my favourite". Now I suppose bits of you will be in other eagles but it won't ever be the same".

"Thanks for saving my life so many times", he told one. Of course the eagle itself probably had nothing to do with that but it helped Alan feel better. Now he understood how Helena felt when she had to decide which patient survived. Though even Helena would think he was stupid right now. The ship was just metal, no heart, no feelings.

But that did n't stop him saying, "I'll take you apart myself old girl, don't worry them butchers won't put they harsh hands on you". It would of course mean he had a lot more work to do. But he wanted to do this himself as a sort of a final gesture. Not that the eagle would care but he would do it anyway.

Looking down at his hands Alan could see them trembling. This he knew was because of fatique and not emotion. He'd already worked a long shift and should be going off duty soon. Tanya's warm affectionate arms were awaiting him and he should sink willingly into them. But he would not, today the colder metal girl was getting a last piece of affection. He really was rather daft.

Up in main Mission Commander Koenig was looking at the far off planet and already whirling plans through his head. "This one is not going to be suitable for habitation", Sandra told him, "but there are food stuffs and minerals we should be able to obtain."

"Good, we'll wait unti we get closer then I'll order the eagles in", he stated.

Helena Russell standing beside him decided it might be a good time to mention something. "When you choose pilots for that mission make sure Carter is not amongst them", she requested. John turned to her with a frown of concern, "wny not", he asked. "Because he's exhausted John", Helena replied simply.

"His reaction time will be slowed greatly meaning the risk of an accident is higher. I know you like taking Alan but it is better for him if he rests", she held her gaze on his softly. She knew Koenig well enough to know that he would not ignore her concerns.

Koenig guessed Alan must be more than simply exhausted if it had prompted Helena to speak to him. Heck exhaustion was just part of life on the moon. Just like dragging yourself through each day by your fingernails and hoping for a better tomorrow was as well.

He plastered on his fake smile, "very well Helena, I'll chose someone else",he agreed.

Helena nodded satisfied. They settled down to watch the planet loom closer.

Alan decided to break rules by not notifying the other teams of his decision to stay on. He was team leader after all and did not need their permission. When shift members finally reached the hangar bay he'd have them work on the other eagles. That decided he laid himself down on the cold floor of eagle one and opened his tool box. It was time to begin the first stage of dismantling. He had just gotten out a screwdriver when the shaking began.

"What the heck is that", muttered John Koenig as he found himself getting thrown across the room by a giant tremor.

Sandra and Paul were at monitors hurriedly tapping away. "It seems to be coming from the planet John," Paul reported.

"It seems to be in the throws of some sort of scesmic activity and the shock waves are moving out toward us. This is the same sort of effect as having an earthquake at sea", Victor Bergman told them.

"How harsh are these shock waves going to get ",Koenig asked.

For an answer violent shaking once again tore through the base.

On board eagle one Alan found himself rolling across the deck as shock waves hit the eagle. He tried to grab hold of something but could not. Soon he found himself airborne, being tossed from the main cockpit into the main cabin. It seemed like he hovered in mid air for a second then he came down, hard. Shock rippled through his body from head to toe from impact with the floor. He didn't hear anything snap but was sure he'd have massive bruising. When he moved his head slightly he decided bruising would not matter.

All he could see out the open door was a giant ball of fire no doubt caused by the explosion of the nearby eagle 4. It was barreling down the hangar deck toward eagle one like a rampaging 'roo'. Every part of his body was in shock from the impact with the deck but he knew if he did not shut the eagle door it would be over for him. Alan dragged his protesting body upward and stretched out his hand toward the door controls. His fingers had almost hit them when another shockwave hit and hurled him backward . He felt his nails rips from his fingers with the force of his violent detactment from the side of the eagle. Unable to stop himself Alan hit the floor with another violent smack. He lay there unable to move anything and feeling strangely detached. Before his eyes closed however he caught one frightening image of the fire ball now mere seconds from the ship. Then everything went black.

The flickering lights cast weird shadows on the walls of main mission. John clawed his way up from the floor with steely determination to stand upright. "Report, he barked loudly. It was an order that he knew would get everyone who was able moving. He did not even have to look to know that slowly and painfully the others were getting to their work stations. When he finally looked over at them he was relieved to notice only minor injuries. Sandra was the first of them to reach the computer, "looks like the main shock wave of seismic activity was over toward the eagle landing pads", she reported.

Paul quickly tapped into the monitors in that area," haaa", his quick intact of shocked breath was heard by all. Koenig fearing the worst said, "tap it up on main screen Sandra".

She did that and few a few seconds everyone on main mission stood still looking in disbelief at what they saw.

Absolute blackness hit their eyes first, but it was not caused by lack of power. It was obvious an intense fire had raced through the area charring everything in its path. Metal ,shaken loose by the quake was twisted and lying in stange positions throughout the bay.

"The fire could have spread to others areas of the base except"… Paul gestured to the hole in the roof of the hangar bay. "It got put out by exposure to space", Koenig finished .

He was still staring at the horrifying scene and found his dry throat croaking out the next question, "was anyone down there when the quake hit".

Sandra's fingers tensed on the computer as she tapped. "We got lucky, it was shift change so the majority of personnel are here, she tapped a secure holding area away from the hangar bays. Those walls are more solid and there is less equipment there likely to explode or fall ,they should be fine", she said it hopefully

"Get in touch with them as soon as possible to verify that", Koenig ordered. Sandra nodded tapping into the communictions system again. At first static was all that greeted her.

In the holding area people were slowly moving.

"What happened?" groaned specialist Hancock as he dragged himself from the floor. For an answer Diana Harper pressed a button and showed him inside hangar bay 1.

"Gosh another few minutes and we would have been in there", Hancock remarked soberly.

Their were similar sighs of relief all around him. That was until someone noticed who was missing.

"Where is he", Diana asked fearfully. Nobody really wanted to answer that because each of them knew the answer. It was Hancock who decided he had to say it out loud, "Captain Carter was probably still with eagle one". Diana hurriedly tapped into the monitors bringing up the hangar bay. "Look there's eagle one", she told her work mates.

All they could see was the back of the eagle as the front was completely covered with metal from the roof of the hangar bay. "He wouldn't be wearing a suit", Diana whispered as she looked at the gaping hole. They all knew what that meant.

Not long after the communications panel started to beep. They all looked at one another, "that will be the Commander", Diana stated. 'Who wants to tell him".

Of course nobody wanted that job.

So it was a shaking Diana Marks who finally responded to the call.

"The majority of us are fine Commander. We were still undertaking the final hand over before start of new shift".

"Thank goodness," Koenig breathed. Then he stopped remembering that she had said, "majority". Why was Diana Marks looking like she had something really bad to tell him. His chest started to squeeze and he had the urge to put his fingers in his ears so he could not hear her words.

"Sir their was someone in the hangar bay at the time the quake hit", Diana managed to squeak out.

Koenig felt himself go even colder as ice found its way into his heart ,life on alpha was so precious and all of its occupants were well known to him. "Who", he asked softly.

Diana stopped for a second composing herself, then with a breath of courage she announced, "Captain Carter sir."

"Alan", Koenig found the name being gasped out. He hurriedly pulled a chair under his buckling feet.

He looked into the sympathetic eyes of those in main mission. 'Is there any hope", he asked.

Sandra was tapping into the monitors showing the eagle covered in heavy twisted metal.

Nobody said anything but John knew that if the fire hadn't killed Alan then decompression would have.

"He wasn't even flying", he whispered softly…..