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Chapter 8 : Battle In The Sky
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Gingerly, I stepped up into a large helicopter. Hermione followed behind me, watching my every step as if I’d collapse.
“Must you hover?” I snapped.
“The council told me to keep an eye on you,” she reminded me.
“I thought that was why my staff was coming with me,” I growled, “To babysit me.”
She looked shocked. “Never! You are the commanding officer of this venture. You’re babysitting me. To an extent.”
“Hmmmm.” I was momentarily abated. Her argument was good and I was too tired to argue further. I was loath to admit it, but my injuries were still bothering me.
I had woken up a week ago in Berwick with Hermione anxiously hovering over me. She had informed me that we were leaving in a week for America. I didn’t really have a say in the matter, as the council were the ones who had decided to send me.
Apparently I had also been labeled the savior of the Battle of Chestnut Hill. My quick thinking had saved the invasion from disaster. Unfortunately though, I had missed out on the success of the invasion.
I buckled myself into the helicopter and got the pilot’s attention. “What’s our cruising altitude?”
“4000 feet ma’am.”
I nodded and grabbed the safety gear. I was already wearing a jumpsuit as required by flight regulations. While I put on my headgear, Hermione climbed in next to me. Veronica and Sean filled in the seats behind us.
“Which copter is Dean in?” I asked.
Veronica pointed at a small helicopter fitted with guns. Dean was climbing into the one-person vehicle.
“Since when was he able to fly?” I inquired incredulously.
“Don’t forget he’s a muggle born,” reminded Veronica. “He learned how too when he was sixteen and just got his clearance to fly in the army.”
“Huh,” I said thoughtfully. “How many helicopters are in our convoy?”
“Us, five transports, ten gunships, and twenty attack choppers,” the pilot answered. “Everyone buckled in? We leave in three.”
The pilot flicked a switch and the blades above us started to spin. He continued to flick a few more switches as we waited for a signal. Eventually a loud horn blew and the pilot took hold of the cyclic (joy stick) and lifted the helicopter.
He followed the others as we left the small airfield way behind us. He flipped a switch and we heard his voice through our headsets. “We will arrive in forty five minutes. We are not traveling at full speed as our gunships and transports are quite slow.”
I nodded and looked out the window as the countryside flew by. Hermione flipped onto a private channel. “If there’s an attack, we’re not staying here. We can’t afford to lose both of us.”
I shot her a glance. “Then why aren’t we in separate choppers?”
Before she could respond a gunship in front of us exploded. Our helicopter reeled back and spun around once.
Black smoke flew towards us from the southwest and twirled around our helicopters, shooting spells at our ships. A flight of fighter planes flew down from the heavens wrecking havoc and shooting our helicopters.
“It appears they’ve learned that trick from their masters,” Hermione murmured calmly. She unbuckled and scrambled over to the pilot. “Get us out of here!”
“Already on to it,” the pilot yelled. “Now buckle back in!”
She scrambled back and I turned on her furiously. “We can’t leave them!”
“We don’t have a choice,” she snapped. “We have to get out of here. Especially you. I’m expendable. Ambassadors can be made. Soldiers are born.”
“She’s right,” rumbled Sean from behind me.
“We can’t afford to lose you, Ana,” Veronica said.
I growled at them as the pilot thrusted forward the cyclic and we shot forward. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw an attack fighter with a familiar person in it. A spell hit it and the tail blew up and it started to go down. My eyes locked with his as his fighter fell through the clouds.
“Dean’s gone,” I growled. “You happy now?”
Her face paled and she stumbled with her words. “What- how – what?”
By now the battle was far away from us and was just flashes of lights behind us. But then pillars of smoke shot at us from the ground. One flew right at our helicopter and turned into a masked figure that clasped onto the edge.
“We’ve got a hitchhiker,” I yelled.
I unbuckled and scrambled over to the edge of the helicopter. Looking at the others, I said, “I’m going to open the door. Make sure you’re buckled in.”
They nodded grimly and I grabbed onto a metal bar. I used my other hand to turn the latch to open the door. The door flew open and I could hear the roar of the wind.
I stuck my wand out and pointed it at the Death Eater. A jet of light flew at him and knocked him from his perch. He fell down, spiraling as he neared the ground.
With a crack, the door was wrenched out into the wind and hit a Death Eater and he fell towards the ground. I stayed where I was, shooting spells at the black smoke. I was able to hit some of them but powerful shields protected them.
This continued for a while as none of the Death Eaters dared to land on the helicopter again. I glanced over at the others who were still buckled in. Hermione kept glancing over at the other door, as if she wanted to do what I was doing.
“Don’t even think of it!” I screeched. “Stay buckled in!”
A spell hit our helicopter and it spun around several times before starting to fall rapidly. The pilot was doing his best to try to control the fall.
Lights were flashing on the dashboard and I couldn’t hear anything over the headset. I glanced over the edge and saw the ground rapidly approaching.
“Unbuckle and get out of here!” the pilot yelled.
“What about you?” I yelled back. “I’m not leaving you behind!”
“The captain goes down with the ship,” he said grimly.
He nodded curtly, silencing me with his eyes, and turned back to the controls. I looked at the others and jumped out of the falling helicopter. When I was a safe distance away from the helicopter I pulled a lever and my parachute fell out.
I looked up and saw Veronica and Hermione falling out of the helicopter. A few seconds later, Sean jumped out and spiraled downwards.
As we fell I spotted the city in the near distance. It would be a good thirty-minute walk to it.
I hit the ground with a loud thud, jarring my shoulder. Letting out a groan of anguish I collapsed on the ground. Hermione, Veronica, and Sean joined me shortly and also fell to the ground.
“It’s okay now. We’re safe,” murmured Hermione soothingly. “We need to get moving though.”
Sean and Veronica stood quietly but I only raised my head to glare at her. I let out another groan and lay my head back down.
“Ana. We need to get to the airfield. Now. This entire area will be crawling with Death Eaters soon, trying to look for survivors. The commanding officer needs to be warned,” Hermione said.
Grudgingly, I stood up. I winced as my shoulder moved uncomfortably. Sean walked behind me and then suddenly grabbed my arm. He popped it back in place before I could do anything.
I roared in pain. “What the hell was that for?”
“Your arm was dislocated. I put it back into place,” Sean said simply.
I just growled and took off in the direction of the city. His line of reasoning was correct and besides, I was too tired to get into a quarrel.
A/N: Thoughts on this chapter?
That brings the total of canon characters deaths to two! And I’m still counting.
But seriously… RIP Dean. What will Seamus do without you?
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