They were going down. There was no way around it.
Every system on the big jet was out. The overheads. Control gauges. Wing lights. Every light on the Gulfstream was dark. Under normal circumstances, Franklin might have asked the man in the pilot’s seat next to him, “What would cause something like this to happen?” How can all these systems go down at the same time? And under normal circumstances, busy as Franklin’s older brother was, Everon would have answered. Perhaps a grunt, a shouted mumble. It’s the kind of man Everon was. Under normal circumstances.
Except for one minor detail.
The big plane was totally out of Everon’s control. And it was upside down. It was all Franklin could do to hang from his seat harness in the dark and hold onto the infant in his arms, his baby niece Melissa. He was frightened out of his mind.
The jet’s engines were winding down, their pitch dropping, losing power. Yet the overall sound of the big plane, the whistling wind over the wings and fuselage, was rising in pitch and volume. And the plane’s nose felt to be dropping more and more vertical. Straight down.
Franklin clutched Melissa to his chest, bile rising in his throat, and wanted to throw up. Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! BAM! Screams from the back passenger compartment. The fuselage felt like it was twisting, tearing itself apart, about to rip itself to pieces in mid air. Pieces that would in the next few moments be scattered all over eastern New York State.
In a few seconds it will all be over, Franklin wondered. Are we high enough that when the jet’s skin ruptures, the sudden lack of oxygen will knock us out? Or once the plane disintegrates will it be simply the terror of falling through cold space that kills us?
“What was that?” Franklin yelled.