It’s all gone to hell in a hand basket.
Princess has been taken and despite Zark maintaining that he could track her, he’s not been able to trace her at all. Even more alarming, we’ve had no signal from her bracelet. None. Zip. Nada. And the one thing she had agreed to was that as soon as she was taken, she’d send out a scramble.
This means that for some reason, she can’t activate her bracelet.
I’ve arrived at the peninsula and I can’t believe how many of the flowers are there and as I land, at first I don’t notice how down the rest of G-Force is.
I am furious and completely blame myself – which is why I’ve been avoiding the team the last few days. I can’t even sleep – every time I close my eyes, I can hear them accusing me of neglect by letting her go alone.
Just like they did when we realised she was missing and incommunicado.
When I’m not hearing that, I’m seeing her.
And now, Anderson’s making me make the hardest choice I’ve ever had to. He’s asking me to destroy this field of flowers – possibly killing the person I love most – in order to save the world.
Save the world. Again. Today, I don’t want to save the world. I want to save Princess. I want to hold her in my arms again. I want to kiss her, to tell her I love her.
But I’m the Eagle. And it’s my job to save the world.
Even when my team is mutinying and my heart is breaking, I have to save the fucking world.
I don’t blame the team, though. It’s a tough order – I have to empty my fuel tanks and then we fire a missile to ignite the field.
Well, this is my decision. Anderson has said that this is our only choice of action and when he makes statements like that he’s usually right.
I can also see that this is hurting him as much as it does the rest of us. After all, Princess is his daughter.
It’s not something that’s well known. In fact, only Anderson and I know it. Hell, until her mother died he hadn’t even realised he had a daughter.
I’ve never understood why he never told her, but that, I realise, doesn’t mean he doesn’t love her.
He’s blaming himself for this, just as I’m blaming myself. For a moment we’re united in our love for our beautiful Princess and as I look at him, I can see the tears in his eyes and a look of anguish on his face.
I don’t bother to hide my own tears or anguish as I make my decision.
“We have no choice,” I say and start to draw on my gloves and walk towards my plane. In my mind, I know exactly what I’ll do, but I keep my face blank.
The remains of G-Force stand and despondently make their way towards Phoenix. I feel Jason’s hand on my shoulder briefly and am once again grateful for his backup. He argues and complains, but when it’s really important, he just says nothing and backs me up totally.
All of our hearts are breaking today.
The climb into my plane has never been as hard. I’ve never had to use my implant to jump up, but today I do. I have no energy. I’m completely focussed on what I have to do.
I fly over the area, emptying my fuel tanks. As I do so, all I can see is her. I can hear her as if she was next to me, feel her warmth. I close my eyes briefly and see her running towards me.
As the last of the fuel empty’s I whisper one word. “Princess.”
It’s time. “Fuel tanks empty. I’m going down. Impact will ignite.” If I’m going to kill her, then I’ll die with her. It’s not like my life has anything without her. Even G-Force is nothing unless she’s there, fighting by my side.
She is the centre of my life.
I had no way of knowing as I spoke those words that a protocol on the Phoenix that was automatically run when the missiles are moved from storage to rack was going to change everything.
“Mark, we’ll pick you up. Come in.” It’s Jason’s voice – and it’s as agitated as I’ve ever heard him. Urgent enough that it penetrates my death wish. Not urgent enough for me to pull out of my dive, and Tiny is forced to forcibly take the plane aboard Phoenix.
I slump in my seat. I’m not even allowed to do this for her. I’m making her die alone.
I transmute and jump out of the plane. She won’t die alone. Some way, I’ll join her.
In hindsight, it’s a good thing Jason anticipated my actions and is waiting for me. He had already fired the missile.
We land and watch the flowers burning, and I cry out her name again. In spite of the readings showing she’s not there, we can’t track exactly where she is, and I can’t help but be terrified that she was there. I can hear the same scream from all our throats and I seem to hear Phoenix scream as well.
Mourning our lost Swan.