Carnelian whispered, "You have to let go." He felt his damaged muscles relaxing, their strength at an end and their will sapped by the burden. He clung to the disruption of the small girl's overpowering scream, whose echoes still resounded somewhere behind his mismatched eyes.
Selene gritted her teeth and a raspy voice leaked out. Must...fly. Her eyes betrayed her horror and welled with tears. "If you fly," he gasped, "you might live - this is - my burden." Quietly, she whispered Help....? Her mouth split in a silent scream as she pried one of her arms out from around him. The warhead sagged precipitously below them. Eyes welling with tears, she bent jerkily to grace his rough neck with a kiss. He twisted his neck as far as he could, to look at this strange creature. She could see the Light flickering in his right eye. Startled, her other arm slid free, and she shot straight up with all the caged wrath of Selytarel. It shrieked through her mouth and turned on one wing to dive.
Carnelian continued to watch her as he felt himself falling, unable even to muster the resistance to let go of his anchor. The two plummeted, picking up speed as the ground raced upwards. Something burned resistant in the eye that was not his own. Carnelian felt something bury itself in his marrow, thickening with an angry burn. He shifted his position, not longer clinging to the warhead but riding it. He let the machine's will flow through him, the Light invading it subtly as it passed from his fingers and knees into the missile's remnant. The Doctor, he thought, and found to his surprise that his vehicle agreed.
Selytarel pulled sharply out of the dive at the sudden glare, blinded. Selene gaped openmouthed for a moment, and then began to hum. She felt Selytarel rising again, and they swerved over the rapidly descending pair. She watched him fall, and then gagged. She spit out a wisp of black cloud, followed by another, larger one. She retched, and plumes of black smoke ushered forth.
Little remained of Carnelian's wings, but he fought the air with every inch of them, leaning his body out into the crushing eddies of updraft against which he and the missile battled. He opened his mouth, the words torn from his lips by the torrent of air. "Help me! Change it - not everyone - the Doctor - kill the Doctor -" Its intention raced through him feverishly, a directive that he could not disobey. Doctor or everyone, he had no choice but to ride this to its end. The purpose rose up before him, greater than his life, more consuming and important than any thought he had ever conceived.
With concerted effort, Selene focused her gaze on the metal cone, and then spit a lance of black smoke at it. She coughed again, and spit a second, stronger, lance to follow the first. The two bursts shot like dark lightning through the air.
Carnelian leaned farther into the wind, keeping his grip on the gritty metal only by the frenzy of his desire. He was buffeted ferociously, but slowly the missile's course was being adjusted. Then the smoke filled his lungs, crashing into the warhead with unexpected force. He was aware of the smell of ozone and sulfur, then the pounding air and spinning ground filled him and he knew nothing.
Selene faltered, watching the world fade in and out of focus. Doubled over in pain, she began to spiral in ever tightening arcs. A shriek escaped her lips and Selytarel regained control. Turning sharply, it billowed forth a thunderhead of darkness, fully enveloping machine and rider. It smiled and turned up its face to stare defiance at the flickering sun.
The world was a head on collision of jet black with searing yellow, all sharp edges and blazing heat. It was so difficult to concentrate -- anything before the present seemed worlds away.
He had just changed, that he knew. Something had shifted violently. Hadn't he just been something new...? But there were no memories... this was not right. This was not the next stage.
It was so blindingly bright and numbingly dark all at once. Somewhere nearby, another being crouched and waited for what would come next. Where was the guide?
He needed something very badly, and it was not there. A piercing scream escaped his lips and he spun madly to escape the blindness that seemed to cling to his very essence.
If he could not escape soon, he would surely fail.