Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Memories - Chapter 4

Chapter 4


                The darkness didn't last. Dark red lights snapped on around him. They highlighting the interior of the sub enough that he could barely see while an alarm started to echo from the console. His hands flew across the controls, adjusting and readjusting, trying to right the sub after whatever had slammed into it. The problem arose when he focused on what his hands were doing. He wasn't completely sure why he was hitting or flicking or spinning the switches that he was, and focusing made him doubt why he was doing it. Within seconds, he was frozen staring at the console again, trying to logic out which controls did what.
                His world was topsy-turvey again. He spun through a black abyss with only the red lights to separate him from the endless darkness.  Something hit him. It had tried to hit him, nailing him again like that on the same side. Whatever it was had to be large, as well. He knew his sub wasn't that big, but he also knew that it probably wasn't feather-light either. Whatever it was, it had some force behind it.
                The spinning ceased some but the sub now felt like it had been hit from below, pasting him to his seat as he shot upwards. What was attacking him? He had to get away, but how could he out maneuver something he couldn't see? He searched over the controls for something. Some way to see. See without eyes. See with ... Sonar. YES!
                His attention was drawn to a large grid-based screen to the side of the console. He had been ignoring it since it was turned off and didn't seem important for controlling the ship, but now he remembered what it was. It was his eyes. He knew it would see FOR him, even if he couldn't remember how it actually worked. That didn't matter at the moment, though. So long as he could see. He reached over to the dark screen and flipped it on along with several others that followed naturally.
                A new sound filled the cockpit: a soft pinging that radiated from the screen itself. The screen displayed a scattering of random green blurs across the grid, but he had little interest in those. Instead, the gargantuan mass of green off his left side held his attention. A lump formed in his throat. He had no idea what it was still, but he knew that it was big enough that he didn't want to be anywhere near it. I need to get out of here.
                He was again unconsciously pounding away on the controls and tugging on the joystick. The sub wasn't responding this time. The buttons felt purposeless, the joystick as if he were playing with a toy. He kept looking around for something, anything that stood out that could help him. Maybe a nice big arrow sign that pointed at a button and read "Push to get out of here". The only thing that stood out in the confusion were the sonar and the lights. Those damn red lights. Why did they turn on? He wanted the nice bright ones. Lights that would pierce the void and show what was going on. Red was so dreary. So weak. Because I'm running on emergency power.
                Another moment of clarity and another spasm of energy that had his fingers flying over the keyboard again. His attention kept ripping back and forth, from his hands which seemed to have a mind of their own, repeating actions he had done dozens of times, to the sonar, which continued to reveal a massive green blob. This green blob was behaving oddly though. It would drift here and dart there. Sometimes it seemed to be one solid shape, other times tendrils would appear to halo around it. It looked to be circling the sub, but never attacked. At worst, every time the sonar pinged, the blog seemed to shudder slightly.
                Time slowed down. His attention was fixated on the sonar's screen, waiting for the attack to come. It had already hit him three times, why had it stopped now? He wasn't putting a fight. Heck, he knew he couldn't if he wanted to. Even if this sub somehow had weapons capabilities, he doubted that he'd have the soundness of mind to defend himself. Everything he managed up till now felt natural, like he had trained so long and hard that he could literally do them in his sleep.  Thinking about TRYING to do something was more of a hindrance than feeling his way through it, and he doubted you could win a fight in a sub based on muscle memory.
                Lights snapped on through the cabin all at once; he wasn't ready for it. He buried his face in his hands in surprise and felt the sub hum to life beneath him. Whatever he had been trying  to do, he had accomplished at the very least. This is your chance! Cowering from the sudden light, but gripped by fear and determined, he grabbed the joystick and jammed the throttle.
                The power of the sub sank him back into the pilot's chair. The force was reassuring. It was motion. It was escape. He was going to get away. But what if it pursued? Would he be fast enough? Maybe it was waiting for him to move. Maybe that's why it hadn't attacked again as his sub floated dark and lifeless through the ocean's depths. Maybe it was just biding its time. Panic started to return as he considered this. The sonar revealed that the blob was further away, though. It wasn't retreating. Nor was it moving towards him. It simply remained still, with the exception of a wiggle or two. Why aren't you moving? His panic was already dissipating in favor of confusion.
Curiosity got the better of him. He pulled on the throttle and the joystick until he was lined up on the sonar with the blob in front of him. It seemed to shake about again before moving towards him; slowly at first, but quickly gaining speed. In the distance, a ghostly shape appeared in the darkness. It resembled a square missile rocketing towards him at tremendous speed.
 Back up, back up, back up! The throttle was gunned as far back as he could get it, but the sub couldn't move nearly as fast backwards as it could forwards. The looming white shape grew in size as it shot forward. Only a second before the water current hit him, as he got a full view of its features in the sub's lights, did he realize what it was. Sperm Whale.
                The wake of the massive beast sent him rolling through darkness once again. A single, severed tentacle from the creature's unfortunate lunch slapped heavily against the cockpit bubble and stayed there until he had regained control of the roll. As he righted the sub, the tentacle drifted off into the darkness.
                He could still see the whale on his sonar, and it was moving fast. It would be heading to the surface to breathe, if not now, soon enough. This is your chance to get out of here. Gunning the throttle, the sub took off through the black abyss, following after the massive sea creature. With any luck, it would be lead him straight to the surface. Deep black turned to dark blue, from cobalt to azure. All the while, a small counter on the console ticked down towards zero.


  1. Do sperm whales actually attack things? I thought they were just too big to give a damn about anything, haha.
    Assume you mean "highlighted" in the third sentence?

  2. Negative, they really don't. I suppose I might have made a mistake in the writing. My original idea was that the sub was more a bystander in the whale's fight, however I may not have gotten that across properly.