"Dude, where are all of the refreshments? All the food?" Rickie hollered from the back of our stolen plane. The sound of dishes clanging together and cupboards banging closed could be heard from the steward's cabin in the back of the plane.
The plane we ended up stealing wasn't too fancy like I had originally pictured it. It had an old-fashioned VCR tv overhead towards the front of the plane, and old plush vinyl seats that were coming apart at the seams. Jax was reclined in the single recliner, remote in hand, and was intensely watching a Disney movie with the girls... "The Little Mermaid," to be exact. Jane, Ella, and Jackie, who were crammed on the couch close to the tv, were practically glued to the screen and singing along to Sabastian's, "Under the Sea." I tried to ignore their sad, high-pitched and out of tune attempt at singing.
Rickie came out of the back with a grumpy look on his face, his hands empty. "Their food is crap. I think I found some half-eaten Wheaties back there." He jabbed a finger over his shoulder back towards the steward's cabin.
"Ooo, your favorite," I said in a monotone. "Did you find any cards to pass the time or something?"
Rickie held out his empty hands, palms up. "Nada."
I glanced back at the tv playing. "There's always movies," I suggested.
"Oh goodie! Ursela's my favorite." Rickie grinned, eagerly going over to join the girls in their singing chorus. I just rolled my eyes.
Blake and I stood back, watching my crazy friends giggle, laugh, and joke, having the time of their lives. It's the kind of moments like these that you kinda have to treasure, for they happen rarely, so I decided to let them have their fun while they still could before things got serious.
Blake, who had his hands tucked into his jeans' pockets, glanced over at me. "So... I don't mean to pry or anything. I'm just curious.. but what made you want to fight back at the NGO and join the Rebelz? If you don't want to talk about it, I totally understand. I don't know very much about you, and since we're going to be working together..." Blake trailed off.
I tore my eyes away from my friends to look at him. "No, it's okay. It's just that, I've never gone into much detail about my past and I try not to think about it." I swallowed, trying to figure out how to go on. I wasn't sure what made me want to open up to him. If it was anybody else, I'd probably shut them down and insist we talk about something else.
Instead, I went on. "My parents died because the NGO wanted total rule over the planet and spread their "glorious" ideas." I said rather angrily. "My family was against their stupid ideas from the start, and my dad was a general in the war. A building somewhere in Kentucky was bombed one day, with my dad and his soldiers in it. They had been trying to save people trapped in there, but nobody made it out..."
I clenched my fists, which hung at my side, as I glared at the peeling interior walls of the plane. I remembered the day one of the rebel soldiers came to our door to deliver the bad news. I had stood absolutely still, shocked in horror over the news; Mom had cried as the soldier uttered his sincere apologies. Back then, I had been the strong, unemotional one who Mom used for a shoulder to cry on. I had to be strong for both of us.
"When we heard the news, Mom cried for days afterwards; she was never the same again. I hated the NGO for that, blamed them for my dad's death.. Since Dad was gone, it was my turn to take care of my mom, to be there for her. She was such a wreck.. every little thing made her burst into tears. Eventually though, after I talked to her and tried to ease her pain, she collected herself and started back into her usual routine. We didn't have much money to get by, but we stayed anyways - which was a mistake."
I looked straight into Blake's deep blue eyes and just let it out. "The NGO took both my parents away. My mother died trying to save me when they bombed our town. A building collapsed on top of her." I forced my tears down; I could NOT show weakness.
Blake's eyes softened, deepest sympathy shining from within. "I'm so sorry. I don't blame you one bit; I understand." He told me quietly, his voice barely above a whisper.
I straightened up, putting back on my tough face. "Don't be." I brushed him off. "NGO is gonna pay for all the lives they took, my mom and dad's included. A lot of innocent people are dying every day because the NGO wants to take away everything we used to hold dear. They want to shape us into the exact image they want, but I'm not gonna let that happen. The only way to prevent that is to fight back. They will pay for this." I vowed, glaring at the movie screen. The movie was almost over.
Blake's hand touched my clenched one, which sent an electric pulse running up my arm. "I'm with you all the way." He said solemnly. I saw some other emotion inside those deep blues, but couldn't figure out what.
I watched Ella tear up at the end of the movie. "I freakin' love that movie. It just gets to me!" She admitted, sniffling. Jackie handed her a tissue.
Rickie frowned, chomping on some pieces of popcorn he'd managed to find. "Meh, I've seen better. I almost forgot how big they made Ursula's boobs. Holy cow, they were huge! I can't believe they would put that in a KIDS movie!"
Snickers erupted inside the plane. I was still in a funk, so I didn't join in right away.
"Only you would notice that, Twin." Jackie giggled.
"Who couldn't? I mean, they took up the whole screen when she rose up from the water, after she put King Triton's crown on her head." Rickie pointed out.
"I bet you have that whole scene memorized. Especially where Ursula's chest is conscerned." Jane snickered.
Everyone laughed at that, while Rickie tried playing it cool. "Yeah, every day." He said, nonchalant. He rose to his feet. "Now, how about those free roasted peanuts?"
What ruined the moment for me, and bringing me out of my doom-and-gloom mood, was Rickie's Klutz Moment. As he walked back towards the steward cabin, Jane stuck out her foot as he passed and Rickie tripped over it, landing flat on his face with a litte 'oof!'
Everyone broke out into hysterics, they were laughing so hard. I rolled my eyes. Even Blake managed to smother a little laugh beside me.
Rickie got to his feet with bravado, sticking his chin out in defiance, his face was beet red. No one could stop laughing. Jane and Ella both high-fived Jackie in a job well done.
"You should really watch where you walk." I reminded him dryly.
Ignoring me, Rick glared murderously at Jane. "This isn't over. I WILL get my revenge!" He vowed.
Jane just laughed, her face almost turning purple from laughing so hard. "Have a nice trip, Rickster?" she managed to choke out. "See you next FALL!" Jane just let herself go this time, laughing even harder. Her small little body could hardly take all that laughing; Doubling over, she clutched at her stomach, her shoulders moving in rhythm with her laughter.
All of a sudden, the entire plane shook hard, making me stumble uneasily on my feet. If it wasn't for Blake's strong hand on my arm to steady me, I might have fallen right on my face like Rickie had a minute ago.
"What the hell was that?" I had a horrible feeling in my stomach, which wasn't good. That meant something bad was going to happen - or was happening.
Jax was on his feet immediately, opening up one of the ugly beige curtains to peek out a window. Everyone else followed suit.
Blake and I looked out one of the windows next to Jax's. At first, I couldn't see anything but a sunny sky, with dry, desert land stretching far off to the jagged mountain peaks into the distance. I caught sight of a steel-gray blur speeding past the window, disappearing just as fast as it came. Next, I felt something crash into the plane, causing it to rock violently and sending all the furniture flying. Up in the cockpit, warning sirens were going off.
Jax cursed loudly, racing away from the window to the cockpit. We followed quickly after him. This was the first time I'd ever seen an opperating console of a plane before. All the buttons were lit up like a christmas tree. A loud alarm was going off, and a big, red-flashing button labeled 'Jet Fuel' blinked rapidly. The altitude meter was teetering, going haywire.
"I told you we should have used a blow up Otto-pilot! Never trust those invisible ones; they never know what they're doing." Rickie hollered like a mental patient over all the alarms.
Jax started hitting buttons on the console, which wasn't making things any better.
"Who's attacking us Jax? What kind of aerial device are they flying?" I asked, looking out the bay windows.
Jax tapped the plane's radar system as it continued spewing static. "I have no clue, the thing is dead. My guess is they're fighter planes."
Right on cue, four small, fast jets flew passed the windows, circling around and coming right back at us.
"Oh crap. We're DOOMED!" Ella freaked, hitting the deck.
I sprang into action. "Not if I can help it. Jax, please tell me you thought of something!"
Jax tried to push more buttons. "If this plane's like the other normal airline plane, then I doubt there's much we can do but bail."
Just then, another missile hit the plane, the shock reverberating throughout the whole plane. Then yet another alarm started going off. This time, the altitude indicator meter dipped dangerously and started to decrease, and I could feel the plane going down. "Well, we don't have much time, so we better think of something fast!" I ordered.
We were all too busy freaking out like lunatics that we didn't notice Rickie reaching out to touch a big red button until it was too late.
"Rickie, NO-- " Jane screeched as he pressed the button. We all glared murder-eyes at him.
Rickie just shrugged. "Hey, it was a big red button. It was just sitting there, begging to be pushed!"
Suddenly, we all heard something retracting from beneath the plane as well as felt it. An alert flashed on the plane's main computer monitor: "Main Gun Missiles Online."
"Whoa, I don't think this is an ordinary commercial airliner..." Ella announced in a shaky voice. "Did either of you even read the manual for this plane to see if it was what it's supposed to be?" It looked like she already knew her answer, but Rickie answered anyway.
He shrugged. "Psshht. Manuals. Who needs 'em, who reads 'em?" He replied.
"No kidding," Jane countered with a little eyeroll. She turned to give Rickie a weary look. "For once, I'm shocked Rickster. Your curiousity and average stupidity actually paid off!"
"AVERAGE?" Jackie exclaimed. This earned herself a Look from her twin, but she just grinned back at him playfully.
"Anyone a good shot?" I asked to no one in particular.
Jax was the first to volunteer. "I'm okay. Haven't shot any missiles since that air battle with an NGO fighter plane last month, but I still got it."
The plane teetered to the side as another round of bullets hit the aircraft's hull like a jackhammer. The fighter planes flew off once again and turned right back around to come at us a fifth time. I made up my mind right then; it was payback time.
"No Jax, you're needed here in the cockpit to fly this plane. Anyone else?" I looked at my friends. No one spoke up right away.
"I will. I was trained back at the academy." Blake volunteered, stepping up to the plate, so to speak.
"Alright, get to it." I ordered.
Blake sat down in the chair next to Jax, grabbing ahold of the controls. Automatically, a screen popped up from some hidden compartment in the console. Through that, it seemed you could control the plane's two main gun turrets directly from the chair. Sweet.
"Hmm... Guns. We have guns, but no complimentary peanuts? Naturally." Rickie muttered.
"Not all fighter planes disguised as a commercial airline are perfect." Jane retorted.
"Perfect my a-- "
"OOOKAY you two!" I butted in. "All of you sit down, shut up, and hang on. This is gonna get bumpy, and you all are just gonna get in the way." I hollered above the explosions rocking the plane back and forth. I gripped a part of the wall that wasn't a chair. "Jax. Blake. Do your worst."
Jax grabbed the joystick, (aka: the flying controls), taking the plane off autopilot. "On it. Here we go, kids!" he hollered.
I gripped the piece of the wall I had ahold of for dear life as Jax began to steer the plane in a crazy and jerky manner. I really hoped he knew what he was doing.
Everyone else was strapped down in the other four chairs provided in the cockpit. Ella was holding on to Jane for dear life, her eyes squeezed closed. It looked like she was squishing Jane too hard; Jane was a fragile thing.
The twins were holding on to each other, both strapped into their own chairs. Rickie's eyes were shut tight like Ella's, his lips were moving rapidly as he uttered some Catholic prayer. I could barely make out what exactly it was he was muttering... 'Hail Mary, full of grace.. Please don't let me shatter my face...'
'Babies,' I thought. 'All of them...'
As Jax flew, Blake manned the turrets, shooting down at least one of the NGO's planes right out of the sky, and sending it spiraling down to its death. I had no clue how he was able to shoot without missing his target, with Jax manuvering the plane around like a drunken insane person. Who gave him a liscence to fly? Oh, right. I did.
Eventually, Blake managed to shoot down yet another plane by blowing off its tail. That left only two, and they weren't gonna go down that easily; they managed to dodge and swerve Blake's bullets with skilled weaving and maniac twisting moves.
"These guys sure don't want to die easily." Blake observed as the planes managed to avoid another round of bullets from his turrets.
"We're gonna DIE!" Ella exclaimed. "I can't die; I'm too YOUNG!" she squealed, gripping poor Jane tighter.
Jane choked. "GAH! Okay, loosen up, or else I'm gonna choke to death BEFORE we blow up!"
"No, we're not." Jax said in a matter-of-fact tone, his face set in grim determination. "It's time to step up our game, Blake." he said to his shooting companion.
"I sure hope you know what you're doing!" I was clutching the handle harder, knowing that look he had on. Whenever he got that manic glint in those freaky eyes of his, I feared for my life. I just hoped whatever plan he had in mind wouldn't get us killed. Or become squashed meat.
"Don't worry, Boss. I've got it all covered." Gripping the joystick with two hands this time, Jax sent the plane in super drive, swerving and rolling like crazy.
"That's what I'm afraid of!!" I hollered over the loud roar of the plane's engine. I immediately felt like I was going to be sick.
"EEEEK! My hair!" Jane screeched over the plane's absurdly loud engines. Her loose brown hair was flying everywhere from Jax's psycho driving. I mean, seriously, that girl took pride in her pin-straight hair. We were in a situation of life and death at the moment, and she was worrying about her freakin' HAIR. That girl had some serious issues!
"You're hair looks great, Janie!" Rickie hollered. "You're rocking the Aero-plane!"
Then suddenly, the plane was jerked roughly to the side, which sent me flying off towards the opposite side of the cockpit. My weight about yanked my arm out of my socket as my feet left the ground, and I was pulled to one side, still hanging onto my handlebar as tight as I could.
"Yo, Rox! Be careful! Find a seat or something." Jackie yelled out in warning. 'A little too late for that, sis.'
I kept on clinging to the side of the plane, with both hands this time. "In case you haven't noticed," I informed her. "There ain't any seats LEFT!"
"WHAT?" Rickie hollered stupidly. I shot him a death glare before I was thrashed around a bit more. Now wasn't the time for humor when we were about to be gunned down. Just my luck; my obituary would read: 'Death by Aeroplane,' or something sucky like that.
"Whooo!" Jax hollered like this was some grand rollercoaster as he managed to finally upright the plane. There was yet another explosion from faraway; one of the fighters must have gone down.
He exchanged a triumphant glance with Blake "Way to go, dude! I would high-five you, but then the plane would go sideways..."
Blake shot him a smirk.
"Yeah. Please don't." I urged.
"Ugh... I think I'm gonna be sick." weezed Jane.
Ella immediately leaned away from her in disgust, eyes wide in alarm. "Don't puke on me! "
Out of nowhere, the plane reverberated, making me jump. Then the plane suddenly lurched forward as it began spiraling out of control. Anything loose that hadn't gone everywhere already, it sure was now.
"WHAT'S HAPPENING?" I yelled as everything began to spin. I tried very hard to resist the urge to puke right then.
"We've been shot; big time!" Jax hollered, cursing rapidly in some foreign language I wasn't able to place at that point in time. I could barely hear him click random buttons on the cockpit's console. "MAYDAY, MAYDAY! We're going down!!"
Everything was a blur after that, until I totally blacked out and slipped into sudden unconsciousness.