Disclaimer begins. All the characters mentioned herein belong to Marvel Comics. What a pity. We take care of our babies SO much better than they do, no? No profit is being made on this piece.

Continuity note: This fic is based on the events of the opening pages of X-Force 101(spoiler alert). Tabitha is watching Sam flying over the San Fransisco Bay. Then, the High Evolutionary's "Mutants No More" ray kicks in, and Sam plummets to the waters below. This fic is exploring some of his thoughts as that happens.

A further note. I am not writing Sam's internal thoughts in any sort of "country accent". Also, he does a bit of number-crunching and whatnot at one point. Sam is a smart cookie. He's been taught by the best, and he's been a team leader. It takes smarts to do that. So I think this is perfectly in character for him.

Feedback? Prettyplease? Send to anon333@vt.edu. Flames can be directed to just about any other addy. Wanna archive? Just ask. I'll probably say yes.


Going Ballistic
by Twiller

It's hard to describe how wonderful flying is to someone who's only ever done it from the inside of a jetliner. There's something about the wind rushing through your hair that's like nothing else on this earth. So even with trying to maintain a low profile here in San Fransisco, there are days where I just have to get out and fly. Like today. Hardly a cloud in the sky, and just the barest hint of crispness in the air. A magical sort of day.

I turn a loop-the-loop and shout with sheer boyish exultation before diving straight at the waters of the bay and level out inches above the surface, trailing my fingers through the waves. Then, pulling up sharply, I rocket skyward again, glancing down to where Tabs watches me from the shore. I offered to take her up with me for a while, but she prefers to watch me from the safety of the ground on the occasions when we come out here. There's a dreamy look of awe and wonder on her face that I've noticed on her lately when she thinks I'm not looking.

I feel my trajectory wobble momentarily, but then I firmly rebuke myself mentally. I guess I'm not quite sure to handle Tabs right now. I mean, she hurt me pretty bad with the whole fling she had with 'Berto. And the pain's not quite gone yet. But I think she genuinely feels like she made a mistake there, especially the way she didn't tell me, and I had to find out by seeing them in a liplock. That was what hurt the most, I think. It wasn't like I expected her to wait for me while I was off doing the X-Men thing, but for her to take up with my best friend and not even tell me? I've forgiven her, but my heart still aches thinking about it sometimes.

I still feel the same way about her, but there's also Sarah to think about. We seemed to have some chemistry together back while I was with the X-Men, and she really is a nice, sweet girl once you get past the "Me Morlock, you upworlder scum" front she puts up. I still email her fairly frequently. I smile as I remember the look of wonder on her face when I taught her how to use the email program on the school's computer.

Lost in thought about my current romantic dilemma, I almost don't notice that there's something wrong with my blast field. Suddenly, with a bang like a backfiring car, it dies out completely, and I can hear every noise of the early morning calm in its absence. A gull's cry, the whisper of a breeze, the distant blat of a tugboat's horn, they echo loudly in my ears... and then I'm in freefall.

Oh, geez. It's been a long time since I've practiced freefall management. Magneto and Cable were both rigorous taskmasters, but I've been lax lately in my training.

Tucking into a ball, then flinging my arms and legs out in equal directions, I move into a spreadeagle skydiving position and try to estimate my current height visually. Looks to be about 2000 feet. That's not good.

Magneto was always pushing the New Mutants to better understand their powers. For me, that meant the physics of flight. Aeronautics, ballistics... I can feel the numbers spinning in my head. After one second I've only fallen sixteen feet, but I'm going 32 feet per second, or better than 20 miles per hour. Zero to sixty in about as much time as it takes to say it. If I hit the water at this point, I _might_ be able to survive the impact, but I'll be at or near terminal velocity, about twice that, when I hit. At that speed, the water won't cushion me at all. It'll be like hitting a brick wall at a hundred and twenty. So that leaves only one thing to do.

Pray that whatever knocked out my blast field has left me some of my External biology to survive the fall.

Over the shrill whistle of the wind in my ears, I can hear Tabs scream my name, as she tries to throw a plasma bomb skyward to attract attention. I smile grimly as it sputters out. I see her dive smoothly off the cliff, probably hoping to get to me as fast as possible when I hit. Good luck, gal.

I feel a strange calmness as the water rushes at me alarmingly fast. No panic, no terror, just some slight regret of all the things I never got to do. Instead of my life rushing before my eyes, it's a parade of people who have made my life what it is.

'Berto... I hope you know what you're doing with the Hellfire Club. Tabs... I forgive you for hurting me. Sarah... don't retreat behind that tough girl shell if I'm gone. We've worked too hard to get you to where you are now. Cable... sir, I know you feel like you've failed in your mission, but you've changed so many lives with your presence... you can still beat Apocalypse... I know you can. Dom, Jimmy, Terry, Jesse, Dani... don't mourn me. I made a difference. That's enough for me. Momma, Paigey... it's looking like you might lose another man of the house. Daddy... I can almost see you waiting for me.

At the last second, I pull up and head for the water feet-first. God... Father... your will be done.


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