Darkness Falls Chapter 29
Five ships were making their way through the atmosphere. Kaede flew the Kitana,
accompanied by Cloud, Tifa, and Aeris. Cid carried Elena, Reeve, Barret,
and Shera in the Highwind. The Silverstrike carried Reno, Rude, and Nanaki.
The other two ships hadnt even been given names.
And so, it was five ships against the most powerful vessel of the Drahk forces. Given that it had been weakened by the WEAPONS, attacking the dread ship was still a suicide mission, and everyone knew it. They just didnt care anymore. The life of the Planet was at stake, and with the coming battle, there was no more time to think of self preservation.
That didnt keep the pilots from avoiding the cannon fire, however. Kaede, Cid, Reno, and the other two pilots were trying frantically to avoid the coming fire from the Drahk phalanx of ships.
Okay guys, said Kaede, weve only got one shot at this.
We got yer tail, replied Cid, just get it done quickly!
Whats the matter old man? quipped Reno, losing your sense of adventure?
Cid answered with several choice four-letter words.
Enough chatter guys, said Cloud, lets do this...
They can fly, appraised Sephiroth, Ill give them that.
Well, sneered Morbius, well just have to clip their wings before they get here.
Are the cannons ready to fire? demanded Methos, glaring at a crewman.
The frightened technician started to waver, but saw the deadly look in Methos eyes. He gulped once and nodded.
Good, sneered the Chaos Lord, youre learning...fire.
Kaede shouted into the comm-link, evasive actions! Its firing!
The five ships scrambled, struggling to get away from the beam that lanced out from the dark crystalline ship. But one of the five was caught in the blast, and spun away soundlessly, to be destroyed by cannon fire from the other ships.
Reeve cursed, they only had four ships now, and how many good men had died in that last ship?
Damn it Kaede! screamed Cid, we have to do something!
Alright guys, answered the Planeswalker, cover me.
The remaining three ships formed up along the Kitana, and together they charged the Drahk vessel.
Break away on my mark, indicated Cloud, 3...
The Drahk ship loomed ahead, a great behemoth against the starlit backdrop.
The shots were coming rampantly now, difficult to dodge at such close proximity.
Almost there guys, said Kaede.
Mark! shouted Cloud.
The Kitana fired a volley of missiles, and the four ships veered away.
The explosion sent tremors rumbling through space...a shower of energy emanating from the Drahk vessel. It sent the four ships reeling.
Wing report, demanded Kaede.
Cid here, came the reply.
Captain Riker checking in, said another.
Were here too, answered Reno.
What in the Planets name was THAT? demanded Cid.
Curse it, spat Kaede, force shields, well have to go in again.
Great, quipped Reno, one more chance to let Fate bite us in the ass.
No backing out now, stated Cloud, lets go...
Sephiroth raised an eyebrow, hmm...Im surprised. You managed to gather enough energy to block that assault. How much more do we have?
Enough to get the job done, assured Morbius.
Sephiroth mulled that over, still, we should fire up the landing ship so we can get planet side.
Methos glared at Sephiroth, then nodded, do it.
Several wraith body guards withdrew from the shadows, invisible until now, and left the room.
Is that supposed to impress me? asked Sephiroth.
I couldnt care less, sniffed Methos, turning to the crew again, fire again.
Kaede was pushing his energy reactors to their limits, simultaneously dodging energy blasts and firing his cannons.
Kitana! Status report! shouted the Planeswalker.
Heavy shield damage, theyre practically gone, answered the computer.
I meant us, stated Kaede.
So did I, replied the AI.
Were going in with no shields? yelled Cloud, aw crap!
Aeris and Tifa sat in a corner, holding hands and silently praying.
Form up again, indicated Kaede, we only have one more shot at this.
The four ships aligned again, that was when the Drahk vessel fired once more.
What the- started Cid.
Look out! shouted Riker.
He veered in front of the Highwind, shielding Cid from the blast. But Captain Rikers ship was a blaze of fire.
Riker! shouted Cid, come in!
No good sir, came Rikers voice, were dead...get them for us!
The ship vanished beneath a series of explosions and was no more.
Damn it! cursed Reno, telemetrys out! Were dead in the water!
What systems are still functioning? asked Red.
Thrusters and shields are the only operable ones right now, answered Rude.
Reno could see that the other ships had fared little better.
We cant take much more of this, said Reno.
Theyll kill us eventually, replied Red, which leaves us with one option...
The Highwind was floating aimlessly, its thrusters barely working.
Ugh, groaned Cid, remind me to take out an insurance policy next time.
I dont think anyone would back you, stated Shera.
Everyone okay? asked Elena
If feeling like death congealed is okay, yeah Im fine, gripped Barret.
Hey, responded Reeve, at least youre alive.
Cid looked at his monitors, and noticed something was wrong, Damn it kid, get back here now!!!
Talk to me Kitana, urged Kaede.
Weapon systems are shot, shields are out, hull damage... answered the AI.
We got a problem here! shouted Cloud.
What is it? shot back Kaede.
That last shot screwed up our missiles, theyre about to blow! We have to dump them now or we go with them
But...the weapon systems are damaged! said Aeris desperately.
Get rid of them now Kaede, or were all goners! answered Cloud.
Kitana! shouted Kaede, do it!
The ship released its last missiles, and shot off. It was still in the blast radius when the missiles finally detonated. The Kitana shook from the blast, but held.
Everyone alright? asked Kaede.
He received notes of affirmation from the others.
Cids voice screamed over the speakers, Damn it kid, get back here now!!!
Sorry Cid, came the Turks reply, got no choice.
Reno, pleaded Elena, this is no time for foolish heroics! Get back!
Report Silverstrike! demanded Kaede.
Sorry friends, answered Red, our systems are dead except for a few.
Were going to ram the bastards before they can get off another shot! explained Reno.
No! shouted Cid, GODAMMIT NO!!!
Theres no other choice, said Rude.
If we dont make it out of this, pleaded Red, tell my parents Im sorry.
Sir! came the technicians tinny voice, theyre going to ram us!
At that speed, with our shields weakened, deduced Veletta, they could destroy the ship!
Really? sneered Sephiroth, did you figure that out all by yourself?
Methos turned to the ex-SOLDIER, eyes narrowed.
Enough time for arguments later, reasoned Sephiroth, we have to get to the Fortress of the Ancients.
Methos nodded, fine, well go.
Morbius turned to the crewmen, fire at them until theyre gone. Were leaving.
The Drahk ship fired once more, engulfing the Silverstrike in energy. Reno coughed past the smoke billowing from his controls, forcing more power into the shields. It was a testament to Kaedes technology that they held.
Our reserves are out, announced Rude.
Redirect all power to the engines, commanded Reno, its make or break now.
I hope this works, said Rude to Nanaki.
So do I, agreed the Cian, so do I...
More power! shouted the Drahk technician, fire again! We must ensure the destruction of the Planet!
No use, said another, shields are out, weapons are drained!
The Silverstrike flew past the holes cut by the WEAPONS, past the rent torn by the missiles, and headed straight into the Drahk vessels reactor core.
The explosion sent huge aftershocks rumbling through space. Nothing was left, it had all been vaporized. The Silverstrike was no more...
The Kitana and the Highwind struggled for control, eventually maneuvering into a steady descent towards the surface.
For the first time in a long time, Cid Highwind shed tears. He was joined by a solemn crew. Reeve was slowly rocking Elena back and forth in his arms.
Aeris was silent, struggling to say something. Tifa and Cloud held hands in silence. Kaedes face was stone hard.
The Drahk ship had been destroyed, but their friends were gone...
Kaede forced his voice to work, Kaede to Highwind...
Cid, tried the Planeswalker, are you out there?
...Yeah Im here, came a cracked voice.
Lets make planet fall around-
Kaede cut short his reply as he saw a third ship making its descent. It was a drop-ship of Drahk build.
Cid, strained Kaede, are you seeing this?
Yes, came the pilots voice, is it?
Its Sephiroth, stated Cloud.
Kaede turned to the leader of Avalanche.
Cloud tapped his temple, I can feel him.
He nodded back, Methos is with them.
Cid cursed over the intercom.
Kaede agreed with him, but had to fight to keep his composure, if only because no one else could.
But he seethed inwardly, Nanaki, Reno, and Rude died for nothing...more blood on my hands...
Cid frothed with rage, his yelling nearly drowning out the speakers with raw fury.
YOU BASTARDS!!! TAKE THIS!!!
The Highwind fired volley after volley at the Drahk ship, draining its nearly depleted reserves. The Drahk craft dodged some of the blasts, but was hit all the same. It began to fall away at a quicker rate, leaving the two other ships behind.
Cid was still firing, and Kaede had to order him to stop.
Enough Highwind, he ordered, theyre out of range.
Then what the hell do we do? demanded Cid.
We follow them, explained the Planeswalker, and I know where theyre headed. Kaede to Vincent and Yuffie...come in.
A voice came in through the static, ...Vincent here...kind...busy...what is it?
Head for the Fortress of the Ancients! shouted Kaede, the Drahk are headed there! Confirm...
Yuffie replied, confirmed...head to...Fortress...Ancients...meet you there!
Kaede nodded and made one last message, Cid, Im going ahead, catch up when you can.
What do you mean- protested the Captain.
Listen Cid, reasoned Kaede, Ive got a few capabilities you dont, Im going in. Please dont argue.
Its not safe, replied Reeve.
We dont have much choice, answered Kaede, weve all had to do what is necessary.
There was a long moment of silence.
...Understood, good hunting, bade Cid, well follow as soon as possible.
Thanks, replied Kaede, head for the Fortress once youre down. Watch out for Drahk forces.
Will do, answered Elena, be careful.
You too, replied the Planeswalker.
The Kitana picked up speed, and began to descend faster.
Brace yourself people, warned Kaede, this is going to get messy.
Kaede, whispered Aeris, what are we going to do?
He merely grabbed her hand and squeezed.
Tifa looked at the monitor, mentally preparing herself for what could be their final push. She shivered.
Cloud came from behind, holding Tifa in his arms.
He turned to Aeris, answering her question, we do what we came here to do...finish this...once and for all.
The Kitana plummeted after the Drahk vessel, the Highwind not far behind.
The race to the Fortress of the Ancients had begun, and in the victors hands would lie the fate of the Planet, and the keys to absolute power.
Authors Note: Finally, a chapter which mostly followed my original idea. However, I have a lurking feeling that this scene left something to be desired. Oh well, I try to pick it up from here on in. Besides, my next fic may have even better dogfights! Anyway, thanks for reading and keeping reviewing!
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