Hail Mary


A/N: Okay, something bugged me to no end about Enemy At the Gates … okay most of it did, but this in particular I could never forget. Now that I've written it, it's come out much more comical than I first envisioned it, but maybe I just think panic is hilarious. Bordering on crack even.

Uhh… seriously. There's a lot of swearing. A lot. You've been warned.


'FUUUUUUUUUUUCK!' was all John could think-scream as he felt the sudden whiplash from his F-302 suddenly going into a spin. His flightsuit reacted by squeezing the everloving fuck out of his chest and arms, forcing blood into his legs and away from his brain so he didn't red out.

'Fuck fuck fuck….' The controls weren't exactly dead, but they might as well have been as his right hand's iron grip on the flight stick did nothing to fix his sudden washing machine speed spin. He forced himself to look down at the controls instead of the rapidly appearing and vanishing horizon – he was dizzy enough already.

'Come on you fucking thing! WORK! WORK DAMN YOU, WORK!' The controls beeped and alarms shrilled at him incessantly, time rushed by but he knew only a few seconds had passed. The adrenaline rush pushed him into bullet time – everything was so vivid. Maybe it was just the headrush of oxygen and blood.

Whatever it was, he was plummeting to the ground in a piece of metal and fuel that wouldn't bounce. He'd been high in the air, enough time to maybe ride it till the ship's aerodynamics straightened it out.

'Oh fuck.' He realized as he saw the forward swept wing of the F-302. If anything, the ship was aerodynamic backwards and he'd slam into the ground assface first at god knew what speed.

Eject. It was the only real option to survive. His hand hovered over the lever…

'Fuck fuck fuck...' they were all dead if he did. The Wraith were still in orbit, Atlantis was in the middle of nowhere, or at least within throwing distance of that middle. He had been the last line of defense and now he was tumbling out of the sky.

He had to regain control. There was no other option for him. He yanked at the flight stick again and groaned as he fought the inertia – the dampeners couldn't take this level of stress.

'Oh sweet baby Jesus, I need a goddamned… oh shit! Sorry sorry sorry! I need a miracle! Hear that? Please God! If you never give me anything else I'll be glad with this! Please God, PLEASE!'

His prayers were worthless, he'd heard something about God hating hypocrites and now that he strained his muscles enough to hurt to reach the controls ahead of him, John knew he was scred. All he needed was to switch from the aerospike jets that had been knocked out to the standard jets. John wept tears of joy and swore to maul whoever put that redundancy in with as many hugs and kisses they could take.

The hypocrisy kept creeping back, his mind wandering to what he'd told Rodney so long ago.

I've seen this before, Rodney: pilots who wouldn't eject when something went wrong - trying to fix their plane right until it hit the ground.

He should eject, every single survival instinct in his body screamed for the relief of rocket assisted escape. His left hand caressed the lever and closed his eyes.

All he could see was the Wraith Superhive.

'God forgive me McKay…'

"Arrrggghhh!" he screamed as he fought the strange sideways gravity of the falling craft. He had maybe a minute to make the switch, reorient the craft, and pray to god he didn't slam into the ground at Mach whatever. His arms burned with exertion, the tendons along his arms were stinging like a row of bees. The back of his eyes itched furiously while sweat dripping down burned the front. 'How the fuck do the back of my eyes itch? Rrrrgggh!'

Finally his finger reached the switch, and he felt the sudden shift in inertia as the craft lurched forward from the sudden acceleration. John's stomache seemed to flip flop and he tasted bile in the bottom of his throat. The horizon wasn't spinning around anymore so he'd broken free of the parabolic tumble, but he still felt like he was going to puke in his oxygen mask.

The controls went from dead and useless to crippled and weighted down with lead and every free weight he'd ever lifted. He could sense the slight motion as the craft now fired its afterburner trying to compensate for the high velocity drop. The ground moved from right in front of his face to now just below his reticule – enough to maybe pull out of this crash. The alarms kept beeping at him and now another alarm, this one shrill and loud enough to sting his temples screeched.

"Pull up. Pull up. Pull up.'

"I AM! YOU FUCKING PIECE OF…"

"Don't Sink. Don't Sink."

"RRRRRGGGGHHHHH!"

The shifting inertia had pulled him into a heavy positive gee, with the belly of the craft hurtling towards the suddenly very near ground despite the engines now slightly higher than horizontal positioning. His flight suit compensated and shifted the squeeze from his chest to his legs, giving him the most uncomfortable feeling in his colon. The navigational thrusters were at full desperately trying to pull the ship into a vertical orientation, but it was just too much force.

John had one last card to pull, and pushing against the strange black and red edges in his vision, he hit the dangerous looking red button labeled 'Rocket Booster'

"FUUUUUUUUUUU…..!"

Blackness overtook him and the next moment John could realistically tell he still had a pulse was when he felt his bowels convulse. He instinctively clenched and held, but noticed that his flight suit wasn't squeezing anymore. His throat had dried and the itch in his eyes had moved to the front. The relief bag on his flight suit was full, thankfully only of fluid. He could feel his guts trying to escape from the rear hatch but his instinctive clench kept that misery from happening.

He checked the altimeter, he'd dropped to barely a few meters from the ground. His rearview camera showed a long scorch mark like some firebathed phoenix had skidded along the ground.

'Oh thank you God… thank you thank you thank you… oh sweet baby Jesus…oh… Hail mary! Hail holy mother of god mary!'

John did a full systems check, his F-302 was in bad shape but had enough to get to the Hive – and still had some fight left in it. He understood just how much of a miracle had just occurred and felt a strange sense of relief, but as he looked up into the sky, also dread.

Time to finish the job – even if he'd almost shit his pants.