They ran into the hallway. Esthar soldiers rushed by, panicking it seemed. It was all very hectic. "Come on!" Laguna called out, with the alarms sounding again in the background. "We'll go to the Command Center." He ran off ahead together with Kiros. Ward accompanied Ellone, as Laguna would only feel comfortable if one of his buddies guarded her. Kenan reached for his handgun and glanced over his shoulder at 'his' team. "Okay," He said. "This could be it…the big battle. Be careful." Irvine, Zell, Selphie and Quistis all nodded. Suddenly there was an explosion. The sound was a bit muffled, but it was definitely a big blast. So that was it…first blood had been shed. Somewhere not far from the Palace something had exploded somehow, no doubt causing casualties on Esthar's side. The whole Palace shook from the aftershock of the explosion. Skye ran close along the walls. If another explosion occurred, she could grab hold of the wall. "What the heck is goin' on?!" Zell exclaimed, panting. -"The Lunatic Pandora?" Irvine wondered. Squall held his gunblade tight with two hands. "That can't be, how could it sneak up on Esthar?" Laguna stopped up ahead to allow everyone to catch up. "C'mon. The Command Center is this way. It should be able to withstand an attack even from the Lunatic Pandora." The sound of another explosion echoed. This one was further away than the last, but not any less powerful. "Dammit!" Kenan cursed. "What is that?!" -"A missile?" Squall questioningly answered. "I don't hear return fire. Is the Lunatic Pandora carrying missiles now?!" Selphie shook her head. "Oh no! Esthar is virtually defenseless against a missile attack!" Laguna waited for the last aftershock to die down, then led the group to the Command Center. The doors slid open. He noticed Kiros stood but a few paces inside the room with his head hanging down. Laguna gasped. "W-what?! …No! Unbelievable!" "What's wrong?" Kenan asked, he stepped up and gestured they rest to stay back. He was stunned by what he saw. There were bodies lying everywhere, soaked in blood. -"…A massacre…" Kiros whispered without looking back at anyone. Nobody had been left alive in the Command Center. Men, women…young soldiers or officers, it didn't matter who they were, they had all been brutally killed. "Uncle?" Ellone called from behind him. She couldn't see inside the room as Kenan and Laguna blocked most of the view by standing in the doorway. The rest of the group in the hallway couldn't see inside either. "What's going on?!" Zell demanded to know. -"Commander, don't let anyone in." Laguna whispered and stepped further into the room. At the same time Kenan backed up and allowed the door to close. He looked at them all, yet cleverly avoided eye contact. They would be able to tell what was going on just by looking into his eyes, he was sure of it.

 

Kiros and Laguna stood side by side in the Command Center, appalled by the sight of so many people lying lifeless in a puddle of their own blood. Even though they'd both seen much death before -during their time in the Galbadian army-, what they saw around them turned their stomach. It wasn't until now Laguna noticed the air in the room was different; thinker somehow. As if there hung a mist, yet an invisible one, as neither him nor Kiros could see anything wrong with the air. "…They never saw it coming…" Kiros pointed out. "There must be at least thirty people that lost their lives here…" He was looking at an officer whom had been killed, still sitting in his chair at his post. Laguna now looked at the other bodies. They all looked like they'd been attacked from behind. A sudden, swift and most off all, deadly attack. One soldier had left a trail of blood on the floor, from his guard post beside the entrance on the opposite side of the room, leading to a control panel. His hand was still on one of the buttons of the panel. It was the alarm button. With his last ounce of strength he tried to warn everyone. He had died not long after that. It looked like someone…or something…had cut him in the back. Kiros bent over to examine another victim. Also cut in the back. Their first conclusion was correct, indeed it was a lightning fast surprise attack. No ordinary human or even group of humans could ever kill so quickly and efficiently. Apart from the one soldier that managed to sound the alarm, everyone had been killed instantaneously. Before anyone could put up a fight…or cry for help. Kiros stood up again. "Whatever did this is in the Palace. We have to get out of here." "And leave everyone in Esthar to be murdered like these men?!" Laguna yelled. His respiration was rapid. He had to catch his breath for a moment. Seemingly calm, Kiros picked up a machine gun and threw it to Laguna. "If you get caught or killed, Esthar is surely lost. Take the gun and let's go." -"But the Sorceress will--!" "No." Kiros replied. "I don't think the Sorceress will kill everyone in Esthar. She's just after you; this killing is just to get to you. And most people should be safe in the caverns for now. Only our soldiers have remained in the city." Laguna shook his head. "…We have already lost before the fight started…" Kiros started to make his way to the door. "As long as you are alive, our forces will surely continue to fight. For now we have to escape. Let's go to the Airport." -"So you're just going to abandon them like that? Run away from the fight?! Hand Esthar back to Adel?!" Kiros stopped. "There is no choice. Our troops will probably surrender if you are killed or caught. As long as there is the possibility…the hope, that you are alive and well, they will fight." Laguna slammed his fist against one of the panels. "Dammit Kiros, I swore to protect Esthar!" -"You can't always." Kiros offered and mindlessly stared at the lifeless body of a female officer lying close to him. Laguna couldn't look and turned his head away. "Okay! Say we run, where do we go?!" -"Balamb Garden." "I wonder what's keeping them." Zell mumbled, leaning against the wall with his arms crossed. Quistis looked up. "Commander, what went on in there? Why can't we see?" His eyes narrowed as he stared back at her blankly. "We lost…that's what happened." Squall knew what he meant. He looked at the others. Skye knew it too. Perhaps she was able to sense it somehow. She was shocked. Quistis and Ward had guessed it by now as well. The rest still looked worried, when in fact they should consider themselves lucky to be blessed with such ignorance. It's better not to know certain things... Squall started down at the floor. One never gets used to being close to death. It can even change a person completely. Zell stood up straight. "Say, is it just me or has the attack stopped?" They all found it was strangely quiet all of the sudden. No explosions, no gunfire, no clash of metal, nothing. Ward glanced around nervously. This couldn't be right. They couldn't just stop attacking. The doors of the Command Center slid open. Kiros and Laguna joined up with the group in the hallway. Before anyone had the time to look inside, Laguna smashed his hand on the touch plate on the wall next to the entrance. The door shut. He pushed another few buttons and it locked up completely. Besides himself, Kiros and Ward, nobody would be able to enter. "Well?" Selphie asked curiously. "Can someone please tell me what's going on?" She noticed Laguna held a machine gun in his right hand. It reminded her of the dreams. He was even dressed in his battle outfit. "Did the Galbadians enter the Palace?" Kiros seemed to explain it all to Ward first with a few hand-gestures. He understood what it meant. Laguna took a deep breath and hoped he could keep himself together. "Yes Selphie. And the Sorceress too." -"What do you want us to do, Sir?" Quistis asked. He made sure his machine gun was loaded. "We're going to the Airport. We're gonna escape…" Kenan approached him. "What? Are you sure?" Laguna walked past, heading for the exit. "I don't like the plan either. But if we all die here, that won't do Esthar any good either. There is no choice." "Yes, there is no choice…" Kiros sighed. He wished there were something he could do, but what? The very heart of the Esthar military had been destroyed without any resistance what so ever. What could the nine of them possibly do? …Or ten perhaps, Kiros didn't know whether or not Skye could fight. Kenan jogged up to Laguna. "So we're gonna leave? But what about the people here?!" He was their President, he couldn't just abandon them, could he? "We are going." He replied self-assured. "And don't worry about the people. There are hiding places in the mountains, built for situations like this. Only the military will stay in Esthar and fight, the rest should be save for a while." -"A while?" Kenan asked. "Do you even realize what you're saying here?" Laguna gestured everyone to follow him and he made his way to the Airport. He never answered the question.   <<------------------------------------------>>   After running for about two minutes, the hallways came to an end. Strange thing was they didn't encounter any Esthar soldiers along the way. No Palace personnel either. They were now walking through some sort of big tube. The floor of which was made from glass. Zell looked down through it. The tube was suspended above the ground…quite high. Lucky for him his fear of heights didn't act up now. Kiros was first to reach the end of the tube. There was a rather large door, mostly made of glass, but lined with a sturdy metal in the shape of an 'X'. He simply pushed the open button, and the door began rising towards the ceiling. "Phew," Selphie said, relieved. "We made it." Irvine peered up ahead. There was only one more stretch to go; a purple road that connected the Presidential Palace to the Airport. The door rose slowly but made it to the ceiling before anyone really got impatient. Kiros stepped outside and first made sure they weren't walking into an ambush. But there were no Galbadian soldiers, and the Lunatic Pandora was nowhere in sight. He was relieved to see there were Esthar soldiers, however. They were running along a lower highway. Kiros couldn't tell whether they were running away from something, or towards a battle in which they were needed. It hit him that those soldiers were probably receiving orders from the secondary Command Center, which was located on the outskirts of the city. Esthar wasn't lost just yet. Those soldiers wouldn't stop fighting until the battle had been won. "Mr. Kiros?" Selphie called. "I don't see any Airplane." Laguna bolted past. "Don't worry, it's there." He sure is in a hurry to leave. Kenan thought. What a coward… Squall was walking at the rear of the group together with Skye. She felt safe around that guy. He'd proven himself a great fighter…for sure… "C'mon guys." Zell said as he glanced back at those two. "Let's get the hell outta here." They hadn't reached the end of the tube yet, but were nearly there. Suddenly a control panel next to the exit short-circuited. There was a bolt of electricity, followed by a puff of smoke. Skye kept walking. "They're going to leave without us if we fall behind like this." …''Leonhart''…. Squall stopped. "Did you hear that?" Ward waved with his arms from up ahead. Skye waved back. "Yes, we're coming! Right Squall?" …''Just you and me Leonhart…'' Squall cursed under his breath. Seifer is here. He could recognize the voice amongst a thousand others. With a last few steps Skye made it outside. The smell of fire hung in the air. She noticed there was a reasonable distance between her and Kiros, given the fact she couldn't keep up with all the running just now. Kenan turned around and noticed Squall still hadn't left the Palace yet. "Dincht! Go check on Leonhart! What the hell is that guy thinking?" Squall raised his shoulder. Perhaps he'd imagined it all. There was nobody behind him. He was about to join up with Skye as the door came crashing down. He had to jump back or he'd be squished like a pancake. "Squall?!" Skye yelled from outside. "Squall!!" She smashed against the door with her hands. -"Leonhart. So we meet again." Squall turned. Seifer slowly walked towards him, holding a red gunblade. "Seifer!" He smirked. "That's right. I've come to get my gunblade back." Squall briefly examined his gunblade. "The blade is crooked, just like you." Seifer stared back at him. "Oh, aren't you the smartass? He laughed. "Well, no matter. You'll be dead in about a minute anyway." Squall stood with his back against the closed door and the tip of his blade pointed at Seifer. "We'll end this here!" Seifer looked back over his shoulder at his two lackeys. "What is he talking about? End what?" -"UNKNOWN." He turned back to Leonhart. "All right. Let's end this."

 

Laguna and Kiros ran back. "The door!" Skye told them. "It closed all of a sudden!" Zell and Selphie were working on the outside panel. No luck…it wouldn't respond to anything. Kenan and the others waited up ahead, not really sure what all the commotion was about. "We'll have to force it open." Laguna stated. Kiros nodded. "Yes, but that could take a while. Do we have the time?" Laguna smashed at the glass with his fist. "Ow! You're right!" He affirmed, seeing nothing happen to the glass. "Just go then! Start up the plane, I'll take care of things here. And no complaints, that's an order Kiros." -"Yes Sir!" He replied. Laguna watched him heading for the Airport then turned to Selphie and Zell. They were gasping about something. "They're fighting!" Zell exclaimed, witnessing Squall and Seifer attacking each other on the other side of the door. Selphie banged against the panel once more. "C'mon! Open up stupid door!" As Kenan ran all the way back to check on the situation, the tip of a gunblade hit the glass of the door on the inside, just in front of Kenan's nose. "Whoa damn!" He cursed. "Dincht! Work on that panel, open the damn door!" Zell jumped aside and started messing with the circuitry. He pretty much already learned it wasn't going to work, but who was he to question Kenan's orders? "Squall!" Skye yelled again and looked at Laguna. "He's outnumbered three to one! He can't win!" -"What?! Who is he fighting?!" Kenan demanded to know. "Seifer is there with his two friends," Selphie replied after taking another peek. "But it doesn't look like Raijin and Fujin are fighting, only Squall and Seifer."

  

Seifer stopped attacking momentarily to catch his breath. "Not bad Leonhart, not bad at all." -"Do you know who I am?!" Squall demanded to know, holding his gunblade like he could strike at any moment. -"Answer me!" He smirked, unimpressed. "You'll have to do better than that to scare me Leonhart." And before Squall knew it, he ran straight at him for another attack. Squall held out his gunblade to shield Seifer's. "You're predictable Seifer!" Squall yelled as the two blades clashed. He put more pressure on his blade and forced Seifer to take a few steps back. -"What the hell are you talking about?!" Seifer yelled furiously. Damn, that guy was good! Squall defended against another slash from Seifer. "I mean, you're moves are all the same as before. It's all a predictable routine." Seifer was enraged and fired a shot of Firaga. The shot was blocked by Squall's gunblade, but threw him with his back against the door. "And did you see that one coming?!" Seifer yelled. Squall laughed. "You really don't know. You're repeating your every move…but this time you won't walk away with just a scar! You won't walk away at all!" -"SEIFER!" Fujin called nervously. Leonhart gave her the creeps. "Remember what the Sorceress said, ya know?!" Raijin reminded him from his safe distance away. Seifer smirked and eyed Squall. "It seems you're quite a pest. Even Ultimecia agrees to that." Squall shook his head. "I don't care! Your tyranny ends here Seifer!" He held up his free head a few inches from his forehead and concentrated. "SEIFER!" Fujin called again. "DANGER!" -"What are you doing?!" Seifer demanded to know as the guy's hand started to glow. SHIT! He's charging up! He suddenly realized. Without another thought running through him, Seifer charged at Squall. …It was too late…. Before his gunblade got in range of Leonhart, he was attacked with magic. A sphere filled with green air swirled around Seifer, causing severe agony. He was knocked down. Lucky for him the green dissipated after only a few seconds…yet the damage was done. Seifer tried getting up but Squall had already reached him. "Here's your scar back!" He shouted as he slashed across Seifer's forehead with his blade. Right between the eyes. Blood oozed down Seifer's face, he cringed but didn't cry out. Squall put his foot down hard on Seifer's stomach. "You're far weaker than you should be Seifer. Even for you." Seifer let his head fall back against the floor and closed his eyes. He waited to be killed. "Leonhart!" Squall looked up. A tall figure appeared in between Raijin and Fujin. It was Sorceress Adel.

 

"Dincht!" Kenan yelled again. "Can you open the damn door already?!" -"Allow me." Laguna said as he gently pushed the Commander aside. He held up his machine gun and fired his clip empty at the glass. Luckily he had already sent off Skye towards the Airport, or she might have stood in the way. Kenan sighed. The bullets had hardly even scratched the surface of the glass, let alone passed through it. Zell could have told Laguna that would never work. The door was a sturdy piece of work. It could quite probably even take a direct hit from a bazooka and still not crack. "Oh-kay…time for plan B." Laguna said. "Uh, does anyone have a plan B?" Selphie's eyes widened. "Get out of the way, NOW!" Instinctively, Kenan, Zell and Laguna ducked away from the door. Selphie pushed her body against the wall next to door and had to close her eyes as a bright light came from inside. Laguna lay on the ground with his hands covering his head, yet looked up to see what he was ducking for. A beam from inside the Palace rushed towards him and blew the door open with an immensely powerful blast. The yellow and orange colored beam surged past, just a few inches above his head. He could feel the intense heat. Debris landed all around Laguna. Some pieces were still burning hot and nearly melted through the road. His ears were ringing from the explosion. Kenan had already gotten on his feet again and helped him up. He yelled something but it wasn't audible for Laguna. He looked up. Smoke came from the doorway. Surely some of it lifted, revealing that the door had been almost completely destroyed. The edges on the small parts that didn't fly away were practically liquid. Squall jumped through the doorway with his gunblade sheathed. He had a scorch-mark on his jacket…the beam must have missed him by only a few inches… "It's Adel!" He yelled at Kenan. "I don't know if we can take her on!" -"Just run!" Kenan yelled back and fired through the remaining smoke with his handgun, hoping he hit the Sorceress. Selphie helped Zell get up from under a chunk of debris and together with Laguna and Squall they ran the stretch towards the Airport…without looking back. They reached it and saw a huge Airship ascend on an even larger platform. Squall recognized it as a perfect copy of the Ragnarok, only this one was colored dark-blue. "Over here!" Irvine shouted from the rear of the plane as the platform reached a stop. The aft cargo entrance of the Airship was opened and Irvine stood waiting inside. "Go!" Laguna told them. "I'll wait for the Commander! No buts! Run!" Selphie, Squall and Zell quickly climbed aboard. Irvine was relieved at least they made it aboard, but not everyone had just yet. Laguna grabbed a new ammo-clip from his vest pocket and loaded his machine gun. He breathed in and out deeply. Come on Commander…you can make it! As he heard more gunfire he aimed his machine gun at the Airport entrance. Through the crosshair at the end of the gun's barrel he saw two figures running towards the Airship. One was further ahead than the other, but was being gained on. Laguna gulped. The smoke prevented clear sight, he couldn't tell which one was Adel and which one the Commander. Thunder struck down at the figure closest to Laguna, and missed just barely. It illuminated the area enough for him to distinguish the two. Kenan was running for his life, randomly firing with his gun behind him. Sorceress Adel floated above the ground but was faster than him, she would catch up before he reached the Airship. With total disregard to his own life, Laguna ran towards the approaching Sorceress. She stopped firing spells at the Commander as she caught eye of him. "La-gu-na!!" Adel cried out, her voice filled with hatred. He grinned and fired with his machine gun. A barrage of bullets was shot from the barrel, aimed directly at Sorceress Adel's body. Empty shells fell on the ground next to Laguna. "Fools!!" Adel laughed and held up one hand as far in front of her as she could. Her laughter overpowered even the sound of the blazing gun. The bullets were stopped by an invisible forcefield just a few inches before hitting her hand and fell down. "It's no use!" Kenan yelled and threw his handgun away. He had stopped behind Laguna, in between him and the Airship. Laguna stared Adel in the eyes, his face not giving away any emotions. He threw his machine gun down too. "Sir!" Kenan called out. "It's no use!" Sorceress Adel set down on the ground. She slowly walked closer to Laguna, enjoying the moment to its fullest. He still didn't make a move. She had to be closer. There was more yelling in the background. Laguna didn't listen to it. The Sorceress smiled, showing her sharp fangs. "I will take back from you that which is rightfully mine!" "No chance in hell!" Laguna laughed and threw a grenade in front of the Sorceress. She looked down at the puny object showing a strange interest. "You want to kill me with that?!" -"Nope." Laguna replied and threw himself down on the ground. The Airship behind him banked left and it's main cannon lined up perfectly with Adel. He covered his ears, and looked up at Adel. "See ya!" Not a second later, the cannon was fired and its beam sent Adel tumbling back Kenan rushed to Laguna's side. "That isn't gonna stop her for long, let's move!" The Airship turned around. Its nose was pointed the other way. A roaring sound emanated from the four engines above. Two to left of him, two to the right. Both Laguna and Kenan crossed the last distance needed to get aboard swiftly and Irvine signed the clear-for-take-off as soon as they climbed in the cargo bay. An automated flight-system shut the aft doors and the engine were now set to full thrust. Laguna lay panting on the cargo bay floor but could feel the exact moment the Airship lifted off from the ground. He had a sinking feeling in his stomach. "WHOO-HOO!" Selphie exclaimed, jumping up and down. "We really made it!!"       Raijin and Fujin stood defeated just outside the Palace and watched the Airship soar away. "ESCAPE!" Fujin suggested their next course of action. She was almost scared to death. -"Yeah…" Raijin muttered, stopping his crying momentarily. "…I'm…with ya…"   <<------------------------------------------>>   "Are you okay, Sir?" Irvine asked, helping Laguna get up from the floor. He hadn't realized what he had done up until now. Take on Adel head-on? What the hell was he thinking? Laguna coughed. "I'll be fine in a moment." He looked to his side. Commander Gantt just barely stood up straight, examining a bandage around his arm. "We made a great team." Laguna remarked. Kenan turned to the President with a smile, thinking he was happy about it too. Yet he was met by a blank expression on Laguna's face. Kenan let his smile fade. Now really wasn't the time to smile…he should have known. "How did you know Kiros was going to fire the cannon?" Selphie asked from a crate she was sitting on, a bit further down the cargo bay of the Airship. Laguna wiped the dirt of his face with two hands. "I think it's Kiros who knew I would duck, rather than me knowing he would fire, if you know what I mean." He glanced around. There were quite a few crates stacked in the large cargo bay. There were food supplies that could last them a few weeks, as well as various pieces of equipment. Perhaps weapons too. Only the Commander, Irvine and Selphie were in the cargo room with him. -"Is everyone aboard?" He asked, his face lined with concern. To his relief Selphie assured him they were all accounted for. "Kiros and Quistis are in the cockpit," She explained. "The others should be in the, uh, passenger room of some sort." -"Ah, I'll think I'll go up there if I can find the way." Kenan run his hand through his hair. "Yeah, it is a huge plane. What's its name by the way?" "The Einlanzer." Laguna replied as he made his way out of the cargo area. Selphie ran up to Irvine and gave him a hug. She didn't have to time to do that yet. "I'm so glad you're okay!"
Making annoying gagging sounds, Kenan exited the cargo bay too. Irvine held his head against Selphie's. "There was no need to worry about me. Squall, Kenan and Laguna were the ones in real trouble." "Heeey," Selphie pouted, as she backed up. "I had to run for my life too!" Irvine grinned. "I know dear. Actually I was worried sick. I would have never forgiven myself for leaving if something happened to you back there." She grinned too. "Aw, you're so gosh darn cute!" He raised an eyebrow. "Yeah? I knew that though, hehehe. You're quite cute yourself, you know?" Selphie's eyes turned puppy dog-like and she fluttered her eyelashes. "Why really?" Quistis cleared her throat, making her two mushy friends alert of her presence. "Oh, hi ya Quisty!" Selphie chirped. "Hee-hee, how long have you been standing there?" She smiled. "Never mind. Kiros needs you in the cockpit Selphie." Irvine scratched the back of his head. "Can I come too?" -"I don't see why not." Quistis replied, slightly laughing. "As long as you don't…distract…anyone." He laughed. "I'll just have to try to hold myself back then." Quistis led them out the cargo bay, into an equally big -yet empty- bay, then up a stairway. Irvine whistled, impressed by the size of the Airship. "It's…huge!" They were led through a large door, which could make even the biggest of men feel tiny. Why the heck did there need to be such a large door? Then again, there were lotsa big doors in Esthar as well, he guessed those people rea-eally hated bumping their heads when walking into a room and just made sure that couldn't happen. Well, that was one theory. Quistis stopped. Irvine smacked into her. He reached for his nose. "Ow..that sorta hurt.." Selphie giggled. "Dummy, you should watch where you're going." "Oh, that makes me feel a lot better." Irvine uttered, whimpering. "I broke my nose and you make fun of it." Quistis sighed. "Now pay attention, the passenger deck is over there." She pointed at a narrow hallway next to a platform she had stopped on. "This elevator leads up to the cockpit." She explained. "Let's go." Irvine and Selphie stepped on the elevator and they ascended towards the cockpit. They saw Kiros sitting in one of the two pilot chairs at the front of the cockpit. He had a big manual lying on his knees and was quickly searching through it. To Irvine's left and right were two other empty seats. One behind the weapons' console, the other behind the radar panel. "Mr. Kiros." Quistis spoke softly. She didn't want to startle the man. "Selphie's here." He glanced over his should and smiled. "Ah, please take a seat." Selphie walked to the other pilot seat and sat down. "Do you know how to fly?" Irvine wondered, still standing on the elevator with Quistis. She grabbed hold of the steering wheel. "Sure I do. It's real simple, I could teach anyone." With his mouth threatening to fall open from amazement, Irvine stepped a bit further down the cockpit. He was surrounded by glass from three sides, to his left, right, and above him. Clouds seemed to rush by, when in fact it was the Einlanzer rushing by the clouds. Quistis got seated behind the radar panel. "The Lunatic Pandora doesn't seem to be moving. It's still hovering somewhere in the north of Esthar. We're gaining distance from it fast." Not quite knowing what else he could possibly do, Irvine got seated behind the weapons console-panel-thingy. He didn't dare press any button on it. For all he knew he might just press the self-destruct switch…that would be bad. Not to mention stupid… Kiros looked aside. "Squall said you were able pilot the Ragnarok. The Einlanzer is practically the same, only it has thicker armor and faster engines. Can you handle it?" Selphie waved one hand up in the air and held the rudder with the other. "Whoooo! Yeah! Piece of cake!" "Just make sure you fasten your seatbelt!" Irvine called and quickly did that himself. "After all…safety first." -"Seems I've done my part." Kiros said, putting the 'how to fly'-manual back in the space under the control panel. "I think I'll go check up on everyone now, if that's okay with you Miss Tilmitt?" "Uh…actually I don't know where I'm headed right now…" Quistis chuckled. "The landing coordinates should be on your display screen Selphie." She blinked and titled her head down. Ah, there it was. "Oh…I see it now. Thanks." Kiros moved to the elevator. "I'll be right back." He said and went down. -"Yeah yeah," Selphie muttered, having the time of her life flying such a beautiful Airship. Too bad she couldn't try out some maneuvers. That would probably be an inappropriate thing to do given the current predicament. Irvine rested his head against the window and shrugged. "Say, what else don't I know about you Selphie?" She just giggled gleefully. Oh well. He thought to himself and pushed his face against the window. His nose sorta still hurt though. He looked down and was able to see the ocean. It rolled by. Occasionally he could even see parts of the Railway Bride through the clouds. Some parts of which he swore to recognize. But then, didn't it all look the same? "I see another aircraft coming from the south," Quistis calmly reported from her position by the radar panel. "Attempting to identify now." She let the onboard computer do the math. It didn't take long before a reading popped up on the display. "It's the Ragnarok III." She read on the display. "I think it's trying to contact us." -"Roger." Selphie chirped and pressed a button on the panel in front of her. "Einlanzer, this is the Ragnarok II." A man spoke. "Please report on status and crew." Selphie briefly glanced over her shoulder at Quistis. "What should I say?" -"Just tell them Esthar has been attacked." She told her. "And that we've escaped with the President." "Okay." Selphie said and pushed the reply button. "This is Selphie Tilmitt. We escaped from Esthar after the Lunatic Pandora attacked. I'm with a team of SeeDs from Balamb Garden. Also President Laguna Loire, Mr. Kiros, Mr. Ward and Ellone are on board." There was a brief silence. "Commander Gantt's team?" The man on the Ragnarok II asked. -"Yes." Selphie replied. "Roger. We'll escort you to Balamb Garden. There's some pretty rough turbulence in the landing area so be careful." -"Acknowledged." Irvine gulped and tightened his seatbelt even more. Perhaps a boat trip would have been better after all… "We should be there in about five minutes at our current speed." Quistis told Irvine, clearly noticing his anxiety. -"Can't be there any faster than that." Selphie added. "I LOVE flying!" Irvine crossed his arms. "People can't fly…dummy…"


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