Nick sat, suited up, in the pilot seat of the M.A.N.T.A. as it zoomed merely feet above the ocean floor. He skimmed across the bottom, throwing up a sandy cloud in his wake. The ship was performing perfectly. He throttled up the engines and the little ship just kept going faster and faster. Tall rocks whizzed past either side of the M.A.N.T.A.'s windshield in a blur. He weaved back and forth between gigantic seaweed beds and enormous thermal vents that poured out gray smoke like coal factory smokestacks. Nick enjoyed the rush of being pinned to the back of his seat by the continually accelerating g-forces.
He monitored his speed on the holodisplay. "This is the M.A.N.T.A. Now passing 2,000 kn and still accelerating. I repeat, 2,000 kn."
He already shattered the underwater speed record, what he wanted now was to break the sound barrier, which would be somewhere around 3,000 kn.
The butterflies in his stomach grew as he rolled the ship clockwise to avoid hitting a giant rock structure, when suddenly he heard a strange sound. It was a sound he didn't recognize. It repeated in a cycle. It sounded like a warning so he quickly checked the displays for any malfunction alerts...but there were none.
The sound was getting louder and he still had no idea where it was coming from or what it was. It was just the same repeating rhythmic pattern. Then suddenly, he heard a rough, gravely voice over the comms, "Now when I was just a little boy, standin' to my Daddy's knee."
Nick was confused, and distracted. And in his moment of distraction, traveling at near 2,500 kn he failed to see the approaching cliff wall. Before he could react, it was all over.
At the moment the M.A.N.T.A. slammed into the wall, Nick sat up in bed breathing heavily, his heart racing, beads of sweat trickling down his face. It took another moment or two for his eyes to adjust and bring his surroundings into focus.
The shock of destroying the M.A.N.T.A., and his own impending death, was replaced with the disorientation of waking up in his quarters in Deep Blue. The M.A.N.T.A. was gone, along with I his record breaking speed run -- but he gravely voice continued. "My Pappa said son don't let the man get you do what he done to me."
It was music. Some country, hillbilly song was playing over the room's intercom.
Disoriented, Nick sat up, "What in the...who...what is this music?!"
"Good morning Lieutenant Commander Sheppard.", Syndi's voice said pleasantly over the intercom. "It's seven A.M., Doctor Marshall is waiting for you in the galley. He would like to..."
Nick cut her off before she could finish her statement, "Computer, stop. Stop the music."
An instant later, the music faded out.
"Would you prefer a different selection of music?", Syndi asked.
"NO. No, no. No music.", Nick replied with the palms of his hands rubbing his eyes.
Confused, Syndi inquired, "Lieutenant Commander Sheppard, if there is no music, then how would you know when to wake up?"
"How would I know...", Nick groaned and stopped his question when he realized the computer could only do what it was programmed to do, and it appeared it had only been programmed to play some backwoods song as a wake up alarm. He just needed to give it new programming. He didn't need a jukebox to wake him up, and judging from the last few minutes, he seriously doubted the doctor would have anything in his music library that had been released in the last 50 years. "I'll tell you what. Can you just play a buzzer, or a simple beep? You know, just like beep...beep...beep...", while Nick continued to do his best impression of an alarm clock he realized he probably sounded like a complete idiot, even to a computer.
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Deep Blue - The DescentScience Fiction
More people have visited the moon, than have found their way to the bottom of the ocean. Test piloting the military's latest top secret assault submarine, in the most inhospitable environment on the planet, a reckless test pilot teams up with a recl...