The top speed of military submarines is a cool 40 to 45kn, or, roughly 45 to 50mph. Underwater drones and remote controlled vehicles were smaller, and had less mass, which allowed them to achieve slightly higher speeds. They usually maxed out somewhere between 47 and 50kn, which is where the top speed of manmade objects capped out. While that's not exactly a bad pace underwater, it's also a long way from breaking the sound barrier. Nature on the other hand, is much better at moving underwater than we are. The fastest recorded sea creature is the Black Marlin, which can achieve speeds up to an incredible 200kn.
As he sat in the pilot's seat, preparing for the M.A.N.T.A.'s first extreme depth speed run, Nick was hoping to go much, much faster.
Nick rested his hands on the flight controls. Thin lines of blue LED light ran across the chest of the M.A.N.T.A. suit, down the arms, across the back of his hands and flowed to the very tips of his fingers. His hands were steady, relaxed, as they should be. Any tension led to hesitation, which usually didn't end well during a high speed test.
No, Nick was at ease. He'd sat in this same position in the simulator hundreds of times and ran through it in his head thousands more. He just hoped it would end better than the nightmare this morning.
"Stop it.", he said, annoyed with himself that he'd even let the thought enter his mind.
"Is everything ok Lieutenant Commander Sheppard?. Over"~, Syndi inquired over the comms.
Nick cussed himself for forgetting that he was running with an open mic, "Yeah. We're good. Don't mind me. We're ready to go. How are you?". He asked the last question as part of a knee jerk reaction. He didn't expect an answer -- of course that didn't stop Syndi from giving one.
"I'm fine, thank you. Over.".
Nick had to admit, for a computer, Syndi could sound very sincere when she wanted to. Incredibly naive -- but very sincere none-the-less.
A grin slowly slid across his face, "That's good. Then, if you all are ready -- let's make some history."
With that, Nick slid his hand forward over the holo-projected throttle controls causing the large twin engines to whine as the M.A.N.T.A. accelerated ever faster through the ocean.
"Current speed is 41kn and climbing. Over.", Syndi reported over the comms.
Nick was focused on the holodisplay which showed a 3d view of everything that lay in front of him for the next 100 yards. Rocks, spires, ridges, coral, vegetation and the occasional school of fish, materialized as holograms in the distance. Some of the data was created by sonar but most was being generated by the map the doctor had provided that morning.
Nick mentally plotted a path around each of the incoming obstacles while at the same time monitoring his speed and throttle controls.
Syndi radioed another update, "Current speed, 47kn and still climbing. Over."
"Throttle at 85%.", Nick reported. The M.A.N.T.A. was still sailing along as smooth as ever as it weaved back and forth between the rock and coral spires. If anything, Nick would swear she was getting easier to handle.
Suddenly without warning, the 3d holo-projected rock formations in front of the ship seemed to -- vanish. The ocean floor was still there, but all the individual objects were gone. It was as if Nick was approaching the edge of the ocean, and there was a barren wasteland beyond.
Nick was about to radio in a technical malfunction when Doctor Marshall's voice came over the comms, "Alright hot shot, you're 2.2 miles out. That's about as far as our maps are going to take you."
YOU ARE READING
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...