The anguished cry reached his ears through the confusion of the attack, loud in the static of the intercom, loud in the tense silence and booming, agonizing shudder of flak exploding about the flimsy craft.
"Save him, please, save him!" Again the frightened cry, again the fearful, shuddering, whimpering, choking twinge to the end of the broken words.
"Save who? Save who?"
"Please, someone, he's dying! God, he's dying! Why won't anyone save him?"
"Who? Who's dying?"
"He's dying, he's dying." Hysterical now and so desperately pleading. Keith growled and slammed his hand against the thin metal and cursed himself for being a fool and caring even as he began to crawl through the tight, narrow tunnel that led to the rear of the craft. He scuttled along the metal walkway, forced his way past the pull of gravity, until he was in the rear of the craft and the hysterical sobs that had echoed through the tunnel were suddenly much louder.
"Help him! Help him! Please, you've got to help him!" Lance's voice cracked in his agony, almost drowned by the chill wind whistling from the small hole in the craft's shell.
"I'm coming, I'm coming," Keith growled.
The pale frightened face stared at him in desperate hope, in anxious pleading, even as the paler hands sought to stem the blood that gushed from the dying Pidge's throat. Keith stared at them in wonder, in revulsion as he felt bile come choking up into his throat. The man on the ground whimpered and twisted, drowning in the sea of red that seemed to impossibly rush from the angry maw, and he wasn't even a man, he was a boy, a fresh faced boy who was so pale and so desperate and there was nothing that could be done, nothing at all but he had to try, didn't he? He had to try.
"Please! Help him!"
Keith swallowed and turned back down the tunnel, rushed through it until he reached the pilot, until he reached Hunk, popped up snarling and angry and irrationally wishing he could hurt Hunk for putting them in this position when it wasn't Hunk's fault at all but those bastards from Group.
"Land the plane!"
"Land the fucking plane!" And suddenly his hands were around Hunk's neck, choking the pilot, shaking him, demanding that the improbably flying piece of metal be landed.
Strong arms wrapped around him, pulled him roughly off of Hunk, whose neck was bright red with the impression of Keith's fingers, face flushed by the blood that was rushing back into it.
"Land the plane! Land the goddamned plane! Let me go you goddamned bastard!" Keith ranted, pulled against Sven's arms, made the other man hold him tighter, keep him restrained. "Pidge's dying back there, so land the fucking plane!"
"I can't!" Hunk snarled back. "I can't!"
Keith tore away from Sven, unconscious of the tears that coursed down his cheeks, rushed back into the dark tunnel, back to the dying Pidge and the frightened Lance, back to the cold chamber where the wind howled through a hole no bigger than a quarter, a jagged hole whose torn piece of metal had flown into Pidge's neck and cut the soft flesh to pieces.
"He's dead." The miserable words dripped from Lance's mouth like the blood that still leaked from the dead boy's wound. "He's dead. We killed him."
And then, suddenly, metal was everywhere, sharp shards that flew out from the suddenly gaping hole and cutting into the soft, frail flesh and then the sudden piercing agony as a lucky shard found it's way into the all important eye and everything that was right was blood and blackness. The air rushed them, pulled at their suits, danced around them and whispered the false promise of flight without wings. Lance clung to Keith and Keith clung to the wall and his eye wept tears of blood onto Lance who wept bitter salt into Keith's chest, while the dark blood oozed from his mouth and the metal shards punctured him through and the wind howled and pulled at their clothes and sucked Pidge's lifeless shell out into the dusty air.
"We're dead, we're dead, we're all dead," Lance whimpered, whispered into Keith's chest, words saturated with his blood. "I don't want to die. I don't want to die."
Keith swallowed and wished he could comfort Lance, but knew better than to take his hands from the slim pipe that they clung defiantly to. The engine sputtered and died, the sky seen through the gaping, jagged hole changed, landscape rushing past as they plummeted, their tenuous hold on flight halted forever. The remaining engine whined, a rising pitch that was joined by the terrified screams of Hunk and Sven.
The wind howled and whistled, and the plane plummeted and then there was water everywhere and fish and death as Lance choked and cried and finally died and Keith tried to pry himself away from the dead boy, and swim and be free and live. But Lance wouldn't let go even in death and Keith swallowed water, filled his lungs with the foul, salty, tangy brew, choked on it and then choked on even more water as he breathed in the sea until it filled his lungs.
And he died, cursing everyone as he went.