Monday, October 22, 2012

Forty-Five Degrees

Forty-Five DegreesIt was inside the metal of the hull.

"Captain, maybe we should risk it. If that whole thing breaches I don't think we can patch it in time. Certainly not if it keeps growing like this." Maarstein's sharp blue eyes followed the scar of blistering metal along the ceiling to the latest mark made by whatever deep-sea alien malignancy was attacking the submarine vessel.

Captain Gutierrez glanced again at the sonar map. They were clear of the "lily pad," their name for one of the giant floating masses of plant matter that formed the only "land" on this waterlogged fish fart of a planet. But if they surfaced now they would still be well within detection range of the damned fast-flying Rays they'd been trying to escape in the first place. 

"Captain?" 

Gutierrez raised her voice so that everyone could hear. "Suit up, folks. Whatever this shit is, I'll warrant it won't be good for the complexion. Dorwell, take us up. Forty-fiver and power ahead, full.

The six-member crew did as they were told without an if or a but or even a smart-ass joke from Lang. They were all shit-scared, and as Gutierrez saw the weird blistering seam bulge a few more inches along the ceiling, she, too, had to steel herself against a sudden rising panic. 

"Three hundred meters, Cap," chirped Dorwell in a voice that was far too young to die. 

"Lang, get your ass to the aft cannon and put on your gamer face," Gutierrez barked. 

"On it Cappy. What we playin?" Lang was already vaulting past on his way to the weapons console. 

"One-fifty meters and rising, Cap," Dorwell piped. Someone groaned.

Gutierrez flashed a wry smile at Lang. "Sudden death, gunny. Better not miss, or it's our asses!" 

"Fifty meters, Cap." 

On the dorsal view monitor, several large shapes could be seen moving through the sky above the ocean to converge on the exact spot the submarine would be surfacing. 

"Hard to port!" she managed to blurt, just as the first projectile hit and sent the submarine into a spin. 

Her head slammed into the metal of the hull. The last thing she saw before sinking into the oblivion of unconsciousness was a fine spray of water that was arcing down from the ceiling, pretty in the flashing red of the warning lights.... 




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