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Angels and Wormholes

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Cassia shook her head, still ringing from the crash-landing. Murky green water was seeping into the ship-wrecked Astrid. Cassia unbuckled her harness and leapt to her feet, splashing into the swampy water. 

"C'mon, c'mon!" Cassia ran to the supply cabinet, quickly shuffling through its contents.

"What do I do?" Nigel released his harness and stood up. The floor of the Astrid was tilted towards the front end, and already the ship was filled with green water past his knees.

"Storage room in the back. Grab the survival kit, EVA suit, some straws. Anything that looks useful."

"Right." Nigel ran up the sloping hall to the storage room, splashing through the swampy water.

Cassia pulled an energy rifle from the locker and slung it over her shoulder, and attached a small laser pistol to her belt. She headed back to the pilotting console. She bent down to the screen, which displayed the warning: 'BATTERY DEPLETED – SYSTEMS INOPERABLE'. She entered a command, activating the Astrid's emergency beacon, and made her way to the door.

"You ready?" She shouted towards the back of the ship.

Nigel hurried from the storage room, stumbling under the weight of a large, bulging bag over his shoulder. He waddled awkwardly through the water now nearly at his waist. "Yea. Let's go!"

Cassia hit the large red button at the exit hatch. It opened begrudgingly, mechanical components whirring and clunking. A flood of dark water rushed into the ship, quickly filling the ship nearly up to their chests.

Nigel and Cassia slipped from the hatch into the alien world, leaving the Astrid behind them. Instead of open ocean, their feet met with soft, spongy ground -though there was water nearly up to their chests. Catching their breath, they took a look at their surroundings. There were tall, thin trees all around, with large, dark green leaves. Vines hung from the trees and criss-crossed above them. They were in some kind of jungle. The thick canopy overhead blocked out much of the sun, except where the Astrid had punched a large hole through to the cloudy sky. The water was dark with algae, and its surface covered with leafy plants. Strange animal noises emanated from all directions -whirring, buzzing, and chirping. Anpther more alien sound echoed all around them: a persistent chorus of distorted creaking and groaning. The trees all waved subtly, gently bobbing and weaving in place, like a mirage. Nigel and Cassia ducked their heads as a massive insect creature buzzed past them.

"So it's not ocean after all." Cassia observed. "Looks more like a jungle."

"I think the sensors were right. It's an ocean planet."

Nigel and Cassia looked around, the dark swampy water up to their chests.

"It's trees all around." Cassia observed. "On the way down too, that's all I saw -just green everywhere."

"Yea, I know. I think the jungle's on top of the water -floating."

Cassia focussed on the bobbing of the trees. She watched as the waves of motion rippled through the jungle. She felt the ground underneath moving with each passing wave. "You're right." The trees were growing out of floating material that carpetted the top of the ocean.

As they took stock of their surroundings, the spongy ground below them lowered. The water rose up, now above their shoulders.

"The ship's pulling it down!" Cassia shouted. "Let's go!"

She started paddling away from the Astrid and towards the range of mountains, just visible through the dense foliage. Nigel followed, struggling with the supply bag. The ground underfoot sloped sharply down towards the sinking Astrid.

A loud creaking and groaning noise exploded up from behind them. Water pushed past, throwing them forward in its wake. They turned to see that the Astrid was gone, sunk below the swampy surface.

The two of them stood, breathing heavily in the swampy water of the alien planet. The surrounding jungle buzzed with the sounds of exotic creatures and insects. The jungle swayed and bobbed. Cassia could see bubbling in the water where her ship had piercing through the green, floating carpet.

"You wanted a place with plants." Cassia turned to Nigel. "Well." She waved her arm, presenting the swampy jungle to Nigel.

"Not quite what I had in mind." Nigel suddenly stood up straight. "Oh shit!"

"What?"

"I didn't activate the beacon!"

"Don't worry," Cassia said, "I got it. Geez, you almost gave me a heart attack."

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