Wings of Fate
See notes and disclaimer in part one.
Blair watched Captain Stewart turn and return to the cockpit, a sinking feeling in his stomach. The pilot has just made an announcement requesting that all the passengers return to the seats that were assigned to them on their boarding passes. 'There's only one reason they'd ask us to do that.' he thought.
He looked at Kim as she approached him, tears in her eyes. "They don't expect us to make it, do they?" he whispered to her as she helped him move to his correct seat. "They want us in our assigned seats so it'll be easier to identify us if we crash."
The woman let out a long sigh, then said quietly. "They've decided that it's too risky to let us try to make an emergency landing at Sea-Tac. They're going to have us try a water landing."
Blair looked at her incredulously. "You mean they want us to crash into the Pacific. That's crazy!" he hissed.
"They say it's the only way, otherwise, we'll be putting too many people on the ground at risk. The airport's in too populated an area."
She looked up to see the other flight attendant motioning to her. "I'll be back."
Blair's head was still pounding, and the nausea that had originally been intermittent had now taken hold full force. He didn't know however how much of his condition was being caused by the concussion he was sure he had received when the bullet had grazed his head, and how much was being caused by the fear he was feeling at what was quickly becoming the probability of his impending death.
He let his head fall to rest on the back of the seat, and closed his eyes. It wasn't that he was scared to die. Naomi had never really insisted he attend any type of organized religion when he was growing up, but he had spent enough time studying the beliefs and religions of may different peoples to know that there had to be something waiting for him wherever he ended up in the hereafter. No, dying didn't scare him, but it did make him sad.
'Sure, I finally find a best friend, and then I end up dying, life truly sucks.' he thought to himself.
That was going to be the worst part of dying. Never seeing Jim again. Well, his mom, too, and Simon and Daryl and Joel along with the rest of the people he had gotten to know, and called his friends. But the thought of leaving Jim left any emptiness in his heart. He hoped that he had helped Jim to understand his senses enough so that the Sentinel could go on without him, and he did regret that he had never finished his thesis to get his Ph.D. But Blair was going to miss Jim on a much more personal level. Somehow, Jim had become to mean so much to him. Never having much of a family growing up, it was like Blair had finally found a big brother. He knew no matter how good it was in heaven, or wherever he ended up, he'd still miss going to Jags games with Jim, or just sitting on the couch eating take out Chinese and watching a Sylvester Stallone movie.
Jim turned from staring out the window, a despondent look on his face. They were going to force the airliner to land in the Pacific Ocean, and there was nothing Jim could do about it. He knew the chances of anyone surviving that type of crash, or more importantly, of Blair surviving that crash, were not good.
He moved from the window and sat down in one of the chairs surrounding the large table in the center of the room. Placing his head in his hands, he stared down unseeingly at the papers and maps that covered the entire surface.
'God, Chief, I feel like I'm letting you down. Just letting them ditch you in the ocean.' he thought. He couldn't imagine his life without the anthropologist. Couldn't even remember what his life had been like before he had met Blair.
'Actually,' he thought, 'I can remember what it was like, I realize now how empty both the loft and my life was.'
He raised his head to look out the window again, "Come on," he whispered to whatever guardian angel that was suppose to look after curly, long haired anthropologists/police observers, "you have to help him get out of this alive."
As he turned his head back, he noticed the maps under his arm. Suddenly, something caught his eye.
"Hey," he called to Simon, "take a look at this."
"What is it?" the Captain asked, moving over to stand beside Jim.
Jim indicated a portion of one of the topographic maps. "Right here, what does this look like to ?"
Simon peered at the map and then looked up at Jim. "Well to me, it looks like a small clearing in the woods. But," he said, touching his glasses, "these things only give me twenty-twenty vision. What does it look like to you?"
"I'm not sure," Jim said, staring at the map. He looked up at David Packard, who had come over to the table. "Where is this area?"
Packard looked at the map. "It's a wooded area, about fifty miles or so north of here, why?"
Jim indicated the area on the map that had caught his attention. "Do you know what this area right here is?"
David began shuffling through the other papers on the table. "Hang on, I think we have a close up of the area. Yeah, here we go, here's a road map of the area." He spread another map out on the table.
Jim looked at both maps, an idea slowly forming in his mind.
"I know this area. There used to be an old Army Depot here. When I was a kid, my Dad was in the reserves, and he would spend two weeks a year there. It was one of the first bases closed by the Federal Base Realignment Committee back in 1989 or so. But I seem to remember that when it was an operational base, there used to be a couple of runways there."
Simon had picked up Jim's idea. "You mean, they could divert the plane there, and have them attempt an emergency landing?"
"Well, it's in a pretty isolated area, so there would be no danger to population on the ground, and it sure beats the hell out of a water landing." Jim looked at Packard.
David was already picking up the telephone. "Let me check a few things out. " he said.
An hour later, Jim and Simon stood on the tarmac of the old Greene Army Depot. David Packard had confirmed that two runways did in fact exist, and even though the military no longer used them, they were still in good condition. The entire facility had been turned over to the local redevelopment committee who had managed to convince an aviation repair company to set up shop there.
When David explained the circumstances to the local officials they had immediately agreed to allow the stricken aircraft to land, they also advised that they did have adequate emergency equipment available. Packard, in addition to arranging medivac helicopters and paramedics to be standing by, had had a helicopter fly not only himself, but Jim and Simon as well, to the facility.
"That was good work back there, Jim," Simon said as they stood staring at the sky.
Jim looked at Simon, "I hope it does some good. It's still going to be touch and go for them."
"Yeah, but you and I both know that they have a better chance here than in the Pacific."
"I hope so, Simon, I hope so." was Jim's answer.
Blair reached over and grabbed Kim's hand and gave it a reassuring squeeze. "It'll be okay." he whispered, "We'll be okay."
"I hope so," came the answer, "but if we don't make it, I just want to let you know, it was a pleasure to meet you, Blair Sandburg."
Blair smiled at her. "We'll make it. We have to, don't forget we have a dinner date at the Indian Palace." Blair had been pleased to find out that Kim was extremely fond of curry, one of his favorite dishes, and when he had bragged about his favorite Indian restaurant, she had quickly agreed that it was one of the best places to eat in Cascade.
Kim returned the smile. "I wish I could be as confident as you are."
Blair tightened his seat belt and leaned back in the seat. He knew he sounded more optimistic than he really was, but at least things were looking up a little. And he was sure he knew who he could thank for that. An hour or so ago, Captain Stewart had announced that one of the members of the team on the ground, actually, a police officer, had by some miracle noticed the outline of an old Army Depot on one of the topographical maps. Luckily, the depot just happened have a couple runways that were in good repair. The decision had been made to reroute them to the base so an emergency landing could be attempted there, instead of in the water.
He knew that only one person could have found that site on the map. His Blessed Protector had come through again. Blair knew that things were far from fine. Even an emergency landing on a well-maintained airstrip still had it's risks, but somehow, he felt a lot more at ease knowing that Jim would be there.
The pilot appeared in the front of the cabin. "Ladies and gentlemen, please make sure that you have securely fastened your seat belts. At this time, I need to ask you to get ready to assume crash positions, since the intercom system is not working. We should be touching down in about fifteen minutes." He turned to walk back to the cockpit, then as an afterthought turned back to the passengers. "Godspeed to you all." he said quietly.
Blair watched him return to the cockpit and then and then looked over to Kim sitting across the aisle from him, giving her a slight smile, as he felt the aircraft begin to descend.
Jim stared intently out of the window, listening breathlessly as he heard the conversation between the control tower and the stricken craft. The plane was expected to arrive in about 15 minutes or so, and should become visible very soon. He knew with his heightened eyesight that he would see it first. He gazed at the horizon, straining to catch sight of the airliner.
Simon watched him carefully, worried that in his concentration the Sentinel would begin to zone out. His fears were alleviated when he heard Jim catch his breath.
"I see it," he cried, as the jet became visible to him behind a line of evergreens. As Jim watched, the plane continued it's descent toward the runway. His heart leapt to his throat as it became evident to him that it was not going to clear the trees.
"They're too low," he yelled, "tell them they're too low. They're not going to clear the trees."
The controller relayed the information to the pilot, who attempted to correct the path of the plane.
Jim opened the door of the tower and began to run down the stairs, with Simon right behind him.
Both ran out of the building just as the plane reached the trees. The attempt by the pilot had not been completely successful. The front of the plane cleared the evergreens, but, in the move, it had rolled slightly to one side, and the right wing was caught by the trees.
The two policemen watched in horror as the plane rolled violently toward the left as it first touched down, ripping the left wing off the aircraft. The plane bounced slightly and landed again, careening sideways.
Jim heard the sickening screech as the plane hit the asphalt, and the shriek of metal twisting and being torn apart. With a lump in his throat, he realized that not everyone was going to survive this nightmare. He only hoped that Blair was one of the lucky ones.
Blair opened his eyes and tried to focus his vision. Smoke had already begun to fill the cabin and he could hear the moans and screams of his fellow passengers. As his vision cleared, he looked around him and was amazed to see that not to far in front of where he sat there was nothing but open space, it was if the plane has been opened like an egg, cracked in half. His attention was drawn The flight attendant in the seat across from him as she began to move.
"You okay?" he asked her.
Kim had unbuckled her seat belt and was trying to stand, using the seat in front of her for support.
"Yes, I just twisted me ankle. How about you?"
Blair took a breath, no pain, that was a good sign. No internal injuries, at least. "I think so," he too stood up.
The smoke in the cabin had begun to turn thick and black, making breathing more and more difficult. Kim had moved to the emergency exit and opened it, "I think it'd be a good idea if you got out of here." She motioned for Blair to leave and then moved past him.
"Where are you going?" he asked, beginning to cough. He realized that she had gone to assist the mother and two small children that had been sitting in front of him.
Since they had been the only passengers sitting in the back of the airplane, they were the only ones to end up on this part of the craft when it had split.
"Help me, please I can't get his belt undone," the mother cried to Kim as she bent down to her.
Blair saw the young woman trying to release the belt, but to no avail. He moved toward the foursome.
"Here let me help."
Kim looked at him. "Blair, get out of here."
He looked her in the eye. "The only way we're all going to get out of here, is if you let me help."
He undid the mother's belt and helped her stand, then handed her the newborn. "Head toward the emergency exit," he told her. "We'll get your son and be right behind you."
The buckle had jammed during the crash, but with Kim holding the release button and Blair pulling on the belt, they managed to free the child.
Blair handed the child to Kim. "Here take him, follow his mother." When Kim hesitated, he said "I'm right behind you."
The young woman took the screaming boy and moved toward the exit.
Blair turned to follow her, the smoke so bad now, that he couldn't see Kim even though she was only a few feet in front of him. The only clue he had that he was heading in the right direction was the crying of the frightened child she held in her arms.
Breathing was becoming more and more difficult, as the black, acrid smoke continued to invade the cabin. Blair covered his face with the sleeve of his shirt, trying to diffuse some of caustic smell. Nevertheless, his head began to swim as he tried to make his way to the exit. He stumbled and collided with an arm of one of the seats. He righted himself and continued , only to stumble again, this time losing his footing.
A wave of dizziness swept over him he fell. Blair hit the floor with a jarring thud, and felt himself losing consciousness. He thought of Jim. Blair knew how hard the Sentinel must have worked to try to save his guide, but it had been futile, he was going to die anyway.
"I'm sorry Jim," Blair whispered, as he surrendered to the blackness.
Jim stood on the tarmac, using his senses as much as he dared, trying to zero in on Blair through the sights and sounds of the downed aircraft.
Simon was next to him, remaining silent, not wanting to interfere in Jim's search, but wary that the Sentinel would lose himself in his sense, in the urgency to find Blair as one of the survivors. Most of whom were escaping the wreckage through the emergency exits and being assisted by the emergency crews.
Finally he spoke, feeling Jim had remained quiet for too long. "Jim, you with me?"
Jim took a deep breath and then sighed. "Yeah, I'm here." He turned fearful eyes toward the captain. "I can't find him, Simon, he hasn't come out yet." Jim ran his hand through his hair in frustration. "God, maybe he never made it."
"Jim, you can't think like that. Maybe you missed him. I mean there's a hell of a lot of activity going on around here." Simon responded with conviction that he didn't really feel.
Another group of passengers escaped the burning plane, Jim watched as the last one, a woman, exited, holding a young boy. She handed the child to a waiting paramedic and then turned back to look at the aircraft. A worried look on her face.
"Come on Blair."
At first, Jim had thought he imagined it, the stress was causing his senses to play tricks on him. He strained to listen to her. This time there was mistaking her words.
"Where are you, Blair?"
Jim sprinted toward her, catching Simon off guard.
"Jim, what the hell, where are you going?" he called. When there was no response, he took off after him.
Jim ran up to Kim, startling her. "Is there someone else in there?" He asked breathlessly. "I heard you calling to someone."
"How could you have heard me?" the flight attendant asked. looking around her. A minute ago, the only person near her was the paramedic who had taken the young boy from her.
"That doesn't matter." Jim's voice was insistent. "Is there someone else in there, a young man with long curly hair?"
Kim looked at him. "Yes, his name is Blair Sandburg, he was right behind me, or so I thought."
Jim looked at Simon, "I've got to go in after him, Simon."
The police captain looked around, trying to alert some of the emergency personnel of the situation. "Jim, hang on, lets get someone who's trained in this in there, okay?"
Jim grabbed the black man's arm, forcing him to meet his eyes. "Sir, you and I both know that if anyone can find him, I can. Besides, you can't stop me."
Simon sighed, he knew Jim was right. Jim was probably Sandburg's only chance, but he still didn't like it. If Jim should zone out or something, he might lose both of them.
He grabbed an oxygen tank that had been dropped by one of the emergency crew and checked it out, making sure it was in working order. "Okay, but I'm only giving you five minutes. If you don't find him by then, you get out, you hear me? Here let me help you put this on." As Jim placed mask over his face, Simon grabbed his hand. "And one more thing, don't go overboard in there. There no one watching your back on this one."
Jim nodded to him and took off toward the exit Kim had indicated.
It took a minute for his eyes to adjust to the sooty blackness in the cabin, even then, Jim had a hard time making out anything through the thick smoke. Frustrated, he decided to try his hearing. Simon was right, it was too dangerous to try to piggy back his senses. Not without someone there, 'not without Blair', Jim thought, to pull him back if necessary. If Jim were to lose it here, both he and Blair would perish.
He made his way down the aisle, trying to no avail to locate the familiar heartbeat of his roommate.
Suddenly, he tripped over something laying in the aisle. He focused his vision and was rewarded with the sight of Blair, lying partially in one of the seats. Jim's elation quickly abated however, when he realized that there was neither any heartbeat or respirations coming from the unconscious man.
Jim grabbed Blair and threw him over his shoulder, then quickly made his way out of the plane.
Simon had just about been ready to send someone in after Jim, the five minutes up, when he saw the man emerge from the aircraft, carrying Blair over his shoulder.
Both he and Kim ran to help the detective.
Jim gently laid Blair on the ground and then tore off his oxygen tank. "His heart's stopped, and he's not breathing!" he yelled to them, as he began to administer CPR.
Kim went to find a paramedic while Simon grabbed the discarded oxygen and placed the mask over Blair's face.
"Come on, Chief," Jim pleaded, "Come on, stay with us here."
He stopped and looked at Simon, who was checking for a pulse.
Simon shook his head. "Nothing,"
Jim began compressions again. His voice was more insistent now, and his eyes began to fill with tears. "Come on Blair, please, you've got to start breathing now. It's okay to start breathing now. You can't die on me."
He stopped CPR again, letting Simon check vitals. Simon again shook his head.
With tears rolling down his face, Jim began to shout. "Damn it, Sandburg, breath damn you, breath! Come on! You are NOT going to die on me here. Don't you dare die on me here. Come on! There is no way you made it through this whole ordeal just to die now. Come on, Blair, breath, damn you!"
The first thing that came to Blair's mind was that Jim was really pissed off this time. He wasn't even sure what he had done, but it must have been something pretty bad to upset Jim like that. He hadn't heard Jim yell so much since, well he couldn't remember when. And he knew that Jim was mad at him, because Jim kept yelling his name.
Maybe it would just be best if he stayed where he was for a while. Maybe Jim would forget about it, or at least cool off a little.
He tried to think what he could have done. 'Let's see, the last time I remember talking to him was when he dropped me off at the airport. I mean I know it was early, but he was the one who volunteered to take me. Geez, I told him I'd drive myself.'
The airport, no wait a minute, the airplane, that was it, something went wrong with the airplane. But why should Jim be upset with him, it wasn't Blair's fault. The last thing Blair remembered was the feeling that his lungs were on fire, and then everything fading to black.
Blair could still remember the horror of running out of oxygen, the feeling that his lungs were going to burst. So why was Jim yelling at him to breath?
'That would be real stupid Jim, considering there's no air to breath in here.' Blair thought. As Jim's words continued to penetrate his subconscious, he thought,. 'okay, one breath, just to shut you up.'
Jim became aware of activity behind him. Kim had returned with two EMT's, who quickly moved in to assist. One of them moved to take the oxygen from Simon. The other attempted to relieve Jim, but met with resistance from the detective.
Simon moved over to him and placed a hand on his arm, pulling him away. "Jim, come on, let them do their job."
Jim relented, and stood up, never taking his eyes off the man lying motionless on the ground. A feeling of despair washed over him, threatening to drown any other feelings he may have ever had. He had tried so hard, tried everything he could think of to save his friend, but it hadn't been enough. He had failed Blair.
As the second paramedic moved to take over for Jim, the first one began checking for vital signs.
"Wait at minute, " he said, holding up his hand to stop his partner. "I have a respiration here."
Jim still couldn't believe he had heard those words. He had been sure that Blair had given up. That Jim would never see his best friend alive again. But somehow, Blair had survived. After determining that Blair was indeed breathing on his own, the paramedics had also quickly confirmed that the young man's heart was beating in a normal rhythm. They had continued to administer oxygen and transported him to the Medical Center.
Now several hours later, Jim and Simon sat in the waiting area that had been set up for the family members of the survivors of the crash. Five people had been killed, including Oscar Winters. There had been a few serious injuries, and some broken bones, but most people had escaped with only bumps and bruises. All in all, the outcome had been better than expected.
Kim Ashton had stopped by to inquire about Blair, after having her own injuries treated. She had escaped with a wrenched ankle and a few bruises. She asked the two men to give her regards to Blair, and to tell him that she'd stop by in a few days to see him.
As Jim watched her leave, favoring her sore ankle, he stood up and began pacing again. The doctor had already been out to see them once, telling them that it looked like Blair was going to be fine. The young man was awake and lucid, so it didn't appear that there would be any damage due to oxygen deprivation to the brain. There had been some damage to the lungs due to the smoke inhalation, but nothing permanent. The concussion he had suffered as a result of the gun shot had caused some blurred vision, but that too would go away.
"All in all," the doctor had said, "your friend is a very lucky man."
Simon and Jim had looked at each. That was the understatement of the century.
Now all Jim wanted was to see Blair, to actually be able to touch him, to reaffirm himself that everything the doctor was saying was true. The sight of his partner lying on the ground, with no
heartbeat, would always be burned into his mind.
A nurse walked into the room looking down at a sheet of paper on a clipboard. "Any one here with a Mr. Sandburg?" she asked.
Jim quickly walked over to her. "Yes, we are," he said, motioning to Simon.
She smiled at them, "Well, we finally have him settled into his room. I'm sure you'd both like to see him."
This first thing Jim did when he walked into the room was to tune into Blair's heartbeat. 'God,' he thought, 'I'm never going to take that sound for granted again.'
Blair lay on his back, his head turned away from the door. Both men moved over to the bed, being careful not to make too much noise, lest the younger man was sleeping.
Jim gently placed his hand on Blair's forehead, brushing the hair away from the bandage that had been placed there.
Blair stirred and turned his head toward the two men. "Jim?' he asked.
"Yeah, it's me kid, Simon's here too. Sorry, we didn't mean to wake you."
"No, it's okay, I wasn't really sleeping. It's just that I can't really do anything else. My vision's kinda screwy right now."
"Don't worry about that, the doctor says your going to be fine. Just give it a few days."
Simon moved to the other side of the bed. "Blair, I'm not going to stay long, I know you need to get your rest. You've been through a hell of an ordeal. Everyone at the station sends their regards. Don't be surprised if some of them drop by to visit you. " He placed a hand on the younger man's arm. "Listen, Jim and I have spoken to several people who were on that plane. They've all told us what a hero you were. I just want to say that I'm, well everyone, is really proud of you, Sandburg. If it wasn't for you, this wouldn't have turned out as well as it did."
Blair smiled at the captain. "Thanks Simon, I really appreciate that.
Simon returned the smile and squeezed Blair's arm. "You hang in there, okay? Daryl and I will both stop by tomorrow." He gave Jim a quick pat on the shoulder as he walked by an out of the hospital room.
Jim found a chair and moved it next to the bed, sitting down. He placed a hand on Blair's shoulder. "You know, what Simon said, about being proud of you, well that goes double for me, Chief."
Blair turned his head away from him, and Jim could sense his heart rate increase.
"Blair, what's wrong?" he asked.
When the younger man didn't respond, Jim moved his hand to the younger man's face, and turned his head, forcing Blair to look at him. He was surprised to see tears in Blair's eyes.
"Chief, come on what's wrong? Are you feeling okay? Do you want me to call a doctor?
Come on, you're scaring me here."
Blair took a shaky breath. "No, it's not that, I'm okay. Come on Jim, don't lie to me, man, I know you're not proud of me, I know that you're upset with me. But I want to you to know that I'm not sorry for what I did. I mean, Simon's right, if I hadn't done what I did, we could have all ended up dead." He took another breath, "And you know what else, I used everything I learned from watching you be a cop, so you're partly to blame."
Jim was thoroughly confused. He was used to Blair Sandburg being cryptic sometimes, but this was ridiculous. Maybe it was the concussion.
"Wait a minute, Blair what makes you think I'm upset with you?" he asked.
Blair was quiet for a minute or two, then said quietly. "I heard you yelling at me."
"Yelling at you? When? Blair, you've had a pretty rough day, and with the stress of the situation, compounded by the concussion, maybe you imagined something, but I assure you, I didn't yell at you today."
"Yes you did. After you got me out of the plane, I heard you yelling, screaming at me." Blair turned his head again, this time to meet Jim's confused gaze, challenging him.
"After I got your out of..." the memory of those few moments after he had pulled Blair out of the smoking wreckage came rushing back to him.
Taking Blair's hand in both of his he said. "Chief, listen to me. You're right, I was yelling, and it was at you. But my God, I wasn't mad at you. I was scared. Scared out of my mind. When I pulled you out of that plane, you weren't breathing, and I couldn't find a heartbeat. Simon and I were trying to bring you back around, and you weren't responding."
Tears filled Jim's eyes as he remembered the hopelessness he had felt. "No matter how hard we tried, you wouldn't breath on your own. I... I... guess I kind of lost it. I'm so sorry Blair, please know that I could never really be angry at you. I mean, sure, we fight, like all friends do, but I guess I realized today, when I came so close to loosing you, that I wouldn't want to try to live without you. You're more than my best friend, Blair, you're like family to me, like a brother. I'm sorry if I never told you that before."
Blair reached up to wipe away the tears streaming down his cheeks, "It's okay, I guess I already knew that. And don't be sorry about yelling at me. I heard you, you know. I wasn't sure exactly what was wrong, but I kept hearing you telling me to breath." He smiled, "I finally decided to do it just to shut you up."
Blair quickly sobered, "But I want you to know, throughout this whole thing, all I kept thinking was, God, it'll suck if I die and don't get to see Jim again." He squeezed one of the larger hands holding his, "I mean it, of everything else I would have lost in this life, you'd be what I would miss most."
The door opened and the night nurse, making medication rounds came into the room... She walked over and handed Blair a small paper cup with several pills in it. "Time for your meds, Mr. Sandburg, and then I want you to get some rest." she looked at Jim and gave him a kindly smile, "it would probably be a good idea if you tried to rest also, you look pretty tired yourself."
She found the controls and raised the bed so it was easier for Blair to swallow the pills. As she turned to leave she said. "I meant what I said, both of you."
After she was gone, Jim stood up. "She's right Chief, you do need your rest, and I am pretty tired myself. I'll be back tomorrow morning, as soon as visiting hours start."
Blair grabbed Jim's hand. "Jim, I just want to say thanks, for everything, I mean for figuring out about the airstrip, for pulling me out of that plane, for bringing me back, for everything." He reached up with both arms and pulled Jim into a hug.
Jim returned the hug and said, his voice full of emotion, "Thank you Blair, for deciding to come back to me."
As Jim walked of the room and down the hospital corridor, he smiled. Everything would be okay, now, Blair was safe, and the Gods above had given Jim a chance to make sure Blair knew how important he was to him. If nothing else good came of this whole mess, at least Jim had finally found those words. Better yet, he still had his best friend.
And laying in his hospital bed, that best friend fell into a deep sleep, a feeling of safety and contentment washing over him.
A quick disclaimer: even though I have spent a good deal of time traveling on airplanes, I have never worked for any airline, nor the FAA, and the situations in this story are of my own, sometimes warped, imagination. I have no idea of what actions would be taken in a real air emergency.