Date: May 19, 2010
The power of inertia.
The air up there.
With a scotch in hand and his iPod pumping out jazz flute at inhumane volumes, Max is about as happy as he can be on a plane. First class. Nobody in the seat next to him. He even managed to nap for a couple of hours. And now the meal is coming up.
The well-heeled scientist rubs his hands together in anticipation as a silver tray with a cover is set in front of him. Then, with much fanfare, the flight attendant lifts the cover to reveal a pile of squirming, writhing maggots mixed with human fingers. She smiles cheerfully. "Enjoy your lunch, sir!"
Max clenches his jaw and pulls out his earbuds with a slow, deliberate jerk. Eyes narrowed, he glances suspiciously at the other passengers in first class. Though staunch of heart, what he sees vex any man.
Everyone has been served the same mix of maggots and fingers. Worse, the other passengers are eating. Heartily.
«Ladies and Gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. First, I would like to welcome you aboard Hellenic Imperial Airlines flight 2722 nonstop to Santorini. We are cruising at an altitude of 30,000ft and we should arrive at our destination at approximately 12:00pm local time. Please enjoy your flight.»
The captain's voice is smooth, pleasant, female, and quite familiar. Though the door between first class and the cockpit is usually locked, the stewardess has opened it in order to pull the meal cart through. From his seat, Max might be able to see a curly blonde head turning and Cody smiling at the woman as she's handed a cup of coffee. As she reaches for the cup, one could spy two bloody stumps where fingers might have been.
Down on his plate, the fingers look to be manicured quite the same as the rest of the pilot's.
"Are you enjoying your meal sir?" The cheerful attendant smiles down at him. She reaches over to fluff up the pillow behind his neck. On each of her hands, there are also two fingers missing. Never let it be said that Hellenic Airlines doesn't leave you with a bit of themselves as an experience.
Max's coldly logical mind is hard at work, examining this information from every possible angle and interpreting it (but not digesting it.) "This is not logical," he says, his voice not quite as collected as his choice of words would indicate. Grimacing, he lashes out with the heel of his good hand and hits the flight attendant in the sternum. The woman is tossed back several feet and into another row of passengers.
"On a plane," he murmurs to himself as he stands and steps into the aisle. "On a plane and something is very wrong. Need to get off. Only way off is down." As he rattles off the facts as he knows them, Max is striding toward the cockpit.
The locked cabin door opens easily enough with the flick of one of his hands, the door flying wide and smashing against the inside of the cockpit. Inside a mess of metal panels, LEDs, and small screens with green wavy lines decorate the inside of the tiny room.
Two chairs, one empty, the other containing the curly haired blonde. She turns her head and smile up at him, unsurprised. "What took you so long? I've been waiting."
The yoke shudders in her hands and she glances up at him, an expression of concern touching her features. "Just a little turbulence, buckle yourself in." She leans over a flips a small toggle switch and immediately the glowing signs outside the cockpit come on with the small ring of a chime.
«Ladies and gentlemen, the captain has turned on the seat belt light. Please return to your seats and fasten yourself in.»
By instinct, Max uses his ability to cling magnetically to the floor. Though his upper body leans and sways, he stands firm. "This isn't particularly promising…" he murmurs to himself.
"Cody!" he continues, raising his voice to be better heard over the rattle of components and the humming noise of the passengers. The muscles in his jaw clench visibly. Her missing fingers and her generally come-what-may attitude are disconcerting, to say the least. "Cody, if you don't land this plane right now, I'll land it for you!"
"You are landing it Max," she says calmly, her arms now shaking as she keeps trying to keep the plane under control. "You really should learn to listen to the announcements, the captain has spoken." Her voice sounds like a recording, the cheerful yet neutral tone one would hear from an automated message. A small bead of sweat trickles from her forehead down to her chin and then drops to stain the starched collar of her white shirt.
The entire plane shudders and alarms start whining along with the buzz of the instruments. "You need to turn it off, Max. You're ability is interfering with the instruments. At our speed and altitude we'll burn up before we hit the ocean."
"No," Max replies, shaking his head vigorously. "I did the research. I performed the experiments. I have NO effect on vehicular activity."
On the word 'NO' the entire cockpit shimmies and shakes.
Max's eyes widen considerably, then narrow again. Deliberately, he braces his feet and reaches out to lay his hands on the walls on both sides of his body. When he starts to exert himself, heavy lines form across his brow, closely followed by beads of sweat. His muscles quiver and dance. His eyes roll back in his head and his lids loll loosely.
With a groaning, shrieking protest of twisting metal, the plane starts to descend.
"Don't do it Max, you'll wear yourself out. Let me fly the plane," Cody insists. The whites of her eyes betraying her fear like an animal. The yoke nearly jerks out of her hands causing the two stumps of her fingers to spurt as if freshly cut. The spray of blood splashes across one of the round screens, decorating the green wavy line with red droplets, the entire display looking very much like holly at Christmas.
The plane takes a sudden nosedive, the steep angle and velocity as the outside of the contraption heating quickly, a little too quickly. Through the glass, the blue calm of the ocean seems so inviting, so cool compared to the hellish heat of the Hellenic craft.
«Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking, please prepare for landing. Those seated near the emergency exits would be wise to mentally review procedure.»
"Landing? No. This isn't…" Thoroughly exhausted, Max relaxes and swivels his head to glare at Cody. The fingers. The worms. The plane. The turbulence. "You know something, don't you? What the hell is going on here?"
"I'm waiting for you, Max." She says simply, only the faint trace of a smile is left on her features. She looks haggard, worn, unrested. Like so many of the detainees that were interned where they first met. She reaches over to him with her good hand and grips his lightly, squeezing his hand almost to console herself.
"You're… No. No, we're going to crash! Pull up on the stick! Pull up!"
Max pulls his hand free and slashes it in a downward motion, slicing out the portion of the floor that he's standing on. Riding the square of metal like a magic carpet, he drops below the plane's belly and swoops around until he's facing the nose and traveling backward at breakneck speeds to keep from being crushed. Around him, the exterior of the plane heats until it cuts the atmosphere and leaves a burning wake.
Suddenly, he braces his feet against his magic carpet, holds his hands palm-out, and pushes with his power in an attempt to stall the aircraft. Blood leaks freely from both of his eyes, his nose, his ears, and the corners of his mouth. The veins in his neck stand out like heavy steel wires. Slowly, the body of the plane crumples.
And yet, when Max chances a glance down, the water is far too close and it's approaching far too quickly. He looks up and meets Cody's eyes through the windshield. He raises his voice to scream. "I LO—"
Screaming, tangled in sweaty sheets and sore from flailing, he sits up in bed and struggles free of the covers.
"…It is believed that it crashed somewhere north of the city, but so far, search and rescue teams have not been successful. Back to you Sarah…"