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Part of USS Jaxartes: Deep Six

Part 9: Incident At Map Grid 36-80

Y'Tech V - North Ocean
14th March 2401 23:50
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The Sea Quest had been trying to dodge the mysterious craft for well over an hour with Ensign Stuart now taking a turn at the controls.  Every time it seemed to be coming closer, whoever was at the controls of the sub would kill all power and everyone would remain totally still and silent.  Once it had turned and was heading away, they’d start the engines up a crawl a little further along the canyon.

Without the aid of the subs sonar which the other craft would have detected in seconds, they’d had to navigate the meandering trench using just the lights; which also had to be switched off as it neared for fear of that thing out there would spot the light and attack.  It was impossible to know where they were, how far they’d travelled and how much longer they’d have to play this game of underwater hide and seek.

It was at one such moment with the lights off; that events took a sudden turn for the worst.  The outcrop of rock couldn’t have been more than a couple of centimetres across but it made plenty of noise as it scrapped along the underside of the submarine.  Enough noise to attract the attention of their pursuer.

With all hope of stealth blown out of the water; Lyanna opted for the exact opposite and brought the Sea Quest up to full power.  Racing out of the canyon, she banked sharply and over the top of the other craft which now had to do a 180 to follow them.  That gave the sub a bit of distance, but with nothing but empty ocean around in all directions the chances of escape looked at best extremely slim.

“Is that thing ever going to give up?” Jason shouted from behind her.

“I fear not Mr Devron.” Came the level and calm reply of his Vulcan commanding officer. “My apologies for bringing you all into this situation.”

“I don’t believe anyone could have predicted this happening.”  Jinguji said sombrely.

Now reactivated; the sonar was pinging away; the young Orion at the controls could see every potential obstacle in their path. So it would have been rather alarming for any of them had they noticed she was charging the vessel headlong into a large column of rock.  Lyanna turned to Joshua by her side. “When I say now; blow the main tanks.  Got that?”  He nodded, and then saw what was coming up on the scope and gulped.

“5, 4, 3, 2, 1 an NOW!” She yelled. “Hold tight everyone.”

Within an instant compressed air was being forced under high pressure into the water filled ballast tanks; which meant the submarine now became rapidly lighter as the water was ejected.  It rocketed up towards the surface like a shell from the barrel of a cannon.  The craft behind had closed to within a metre of the Sea Quest and was unable to react to the dramatic change in direction of its quarry.  The impact with the rock crushed the front third and split almost as much again along one side before it dropped to the sea bed a mangled twisted chunk of metal and machinery.

The depth gauge was going wild, its numbers changing more swiftly than anyone could read them.  Somewhere between 500 and 400 metres the control area was bathed in a brilliant blue and white light, the air crackled and hummed.  Had they all got this far only to fail?

Devron had spots before his eyes when the light vanished as abruptly as it had appeared.  To his right both Lei and Joshua had disappeared.  Swinging round he noticed neither Salan nor Hachiro where on-board either.  Someone had just transported the four of them off the Sea Quest was the only thing he could assume at this point.  Then he spotted something glint; the commander’s com-badge resting on the deck.  He grabbed it just as the sub broke the surface.

Eventually Lyanna also noticed the two of them where alone.  But the sonar screen brought her attention to two more small objects heading right for them.  “More torpedoes. Get out.”  They raced from their seat and into the central compartment, Jason in front.  Darting up the short ladder he started spinning the large wheel that would unseal the top hatch and allow them out.

One minute and fifty-seven seconds later the Sea Quest was lifted out of the water, it back broken and twisted metal flying skyward.  The front half landed at a 40% angle the rear tail first sinking swiftly.  The front remained on the surface a short while longer then slowly slipped below the waves for the very last time.

_____

15th February 00:20

Consciousness slowly returned to Ensign Jason Devron. The first thing he noticed was the cold and the dampness.  No not damp, he was wet, very wet.  Why was he wet?  No, why was he up to his chin in cold water?  He’s eyes flew open to be confronted by the vastness of an empty ocean and the semi darkness of the sky. Jason flung his arms around in a panic, splashing water in all directions. His left arm hit a rope and something that felt rubbery. He stopped; he was tied to the side of a small bright yellow inflatable boat.

“You’re awake!” Came a familiar female voice with a hint of Scottish. “Sorry I couldn’t pull you out; you’re a bit on the heavy side.”

“How the?” His train of thought was cut short as something nibbled at the big toes on his right foot. “Quick get me out; something just bit me!”  With a mad scramble Lyanna helped pull him out of the sea and into the boat.  A small blue and gold fish poked its head up out of the water where Jason had just come from.

“Oh look it’s a female Rasper.” She told her companion with a smile. “Probably fancies you and wants to go out on a date.”

“I have never had a female bite me on a date.” He replied noticing his right boot was missing, no doubt heading to the ocean floor if not already there.

“You’ve never dated an Orion girl have you?” With that she turned and started up the small on-board motor.

Devrons rapped himself in a survival blanket which was half folded on the bench like seat he now sat on. He couldn’t believe the two of them had survived and joke about, or how they were now in a boat “Where in a completely empty ocean did you find this boat?”

“Always read the instruction manual Jim me lad.  It was in the long canister mounted behind the hatch on the outer hull of the sub.”

“Who’s Jim?”

“Have you never read Treasure Island?”

With only a small compass mounted on top of the engine housing, she turned the boat in the general direction of the island.  Not knowing what either of them might find when they got there.  They sat mostly in silence, deep in their own thoughts trying to piece everything together.  Alive or dead; though most likely alive, seven were now missing.

“Something’s been bugging me.” Lyanna announced out of the blue.

“Other than who kidnapped everyone else and tried to kill us?” Jason looked back at his companion.

“That storm cloud when we jumped clear of the sub.”

“Didn’t really take that much notice; I was too busy not dying.  What about it through?

“There wasn’t any storm!”

“You’re thinking some sort of reactive camouflage.  A craft possibly; creating and hiding itself within the cloud formation?”

The Orion just nodded and the pair became silent again as they had something new to ponder over.