A Waking Nightmare

I had a brief mention in “To Wake the Dreamers” of the plane crash where Marian’s brother was the pilot.  When I saw the prompt that I used today, I knew that would be the story I would write.

So, a warning is in order: This story has character death.

Prompt: Not Enough

Nicholai sighed softly as the plane crossed into Allemandean airspace.  He couldn’t help but smile as he glanced over his shoulder at his passengers.  “We should be coming into the Berlyn Air Field in about two hours,” he said.

The woman that he only knew as Dancer nodded.  “Thank you, Weaver,” she said, hugging the briefcase she held a bit closer.  She hadn’t let it go since they’d boarded the plane.  Whatever was in it, Nicholai could guess that it was related to their mission.

His brows twitched when he heard an alarm sound.  Focusing on the control panel, he looked around for the problem.  “We’ve just lost engine one,” he said.  His tone was brisk and business-like.  It was troublesome, but they had a second engine, so they would be all right.  He bit his lip as he tried to correct the problem.

One of the passengers touched him on the shoulder.  “Can you get it re-started?” he asked.  There was a hint of fear his voice.

One his companions pulled him back.  “Just let him work, Hooper,” he said, his voice soft.  “Panicking won’t help anything.  Will it?”

“I – I guess not,” Hooper said, his voice thick.  “I’m sorry, Tucker.”

“I’m trying to get it to re-engage,” Nicholai said.  He cursed softly when another alarm sounded.  “This is wrong,” he said.  The second engine had just gone out as well.  “There was no reason for that to happen.”

He glanced at his passengers.  Hooper looked terrified and Tucker was holding him by one shoulder.  Dancer was hugging the briefcase now, rocking in her seat.  Only one of them seemed at all calm.  “You,” he said, pointing at the man he’d heard them call Hatter, “sit there and keep pressing these buttons, one and then the other.  If the alarms stop or the lights go out, you can stop.”

“What are you going to be doing?” Hatter asked, as he took the seat beside Nicholai.

“Looking for someplace soft to land,” Nicholai said.  He bit his lip and shook his head.  “Both engines are out.  We’re going down, it’s just a matter of how hard the landing will be.”  With Hatter focusing on getting the engines going, he could focus on the terrain.

Nicholai did not like what he was seeing.  They were going over a small village.  He cursed under his breath and began doing everything he could to slow their decent and angle them away from populated areas.

“Can you pull up?” the man called Tucker asked, now he sounded as frightened as Hooper had.

Grimacing, Nicholai shook his head.  “Not enough,” he said, his voice soft.  “Not with both engines out.”  Tears stung his eyes and he focused on the task of landing with the least damage.  “Brace for impact,” he said, even knowing that it wouldn’t be much help.  It gave them a chance, at least.  It was a small chance, but it was better than nothing.

As the ground rushed towards them, Nicholai closed his eyes.  He’d done all he could and it hadn’t been enough to save his passengers.  He just prayed it would be enough to save those on the ground.  His last thought was of Camelia.


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