The remainder of the morning went smoothly enough. Jordan finished up preparations on the M.A.N.T.A., Doctor Marshall and Syndi continued to run through simulations on the new capture device, while Nick double and triple checked the M.A.N.T.A. systems.
It wasn't long before Nick found himself once again at the bottom of the Mariana Trench, strapped in behind the controls of the M.A.N.T.A., which to be fair, was where he most felt at home. The tiny ship sliced through the darkness with the beams on the leading edges of both wings.
"Passing 35,000 feet.", Syndi's voice called through the ships comms.
"Roger that.", Nick replied.
As the doctor predicted, the trip to the bottom had gone without incident. There were the same occasional moans and pops from the M.A.N.T.A. as the first trip, but thankfully no cracks or booms. It appeared the Commander's repair job was doing its job -- so far.
The Doc's drones were still playing a game of "catch up" with the M.A.N.T.A. as they struggled to keep up with the ship throughout the descent. Through the rear camera, Nick could make out the drone's flashing red and white operational lights through the black fog of the ocean depths.
"That's deep enough.", Nick broadcast. "Leveling her off and preparing to accelerate and engage the Cav drive."
The Cavitation Drive required both extreme pressure and speed in order to operate. At the bottom of the ocean, meeting the pressure requirement wasn't an issue. Getting a vehicle up to the required speed however, was still a record breaking accomplishment.
Nick's hands moved across the controls with both grace and precision. The thousands of hours spent in the simulator made the task almost second nature to him.
In unison, Nick's hands slid forward through the holographic controls.
"Beginning the acceleration run now.", Nick reported as the pressure of the movement began to press him firmly against the back of his seat.
"Roger that M.A.N.T.A..", Syndi acknowledged. "Current speed, 42 knots. Throttle is at 52%."
In Deep Blue's moon pool, Jordan stood beside the Doctor's chair as they watched the cluster of consoles, as the variety of data updated constantly.
The large, central monitor showed the video feed from the nose of the M.A.N.T.A., while smaller surrounding displays showed a map of the bottom of the trench, miscellaneous systems data on the ship, including it's current speed, as well as Nick's vital signs.
A smile slid across Jordan's face as she watched the tiny dot on the map, that was the M.A.N.T.A., increase it's velocity as it sped along it's way.
"She certainly does fly, doesn't she?", Jordan grinned with the same sparkle in her eye that a proud parent would have watching their daughter walk across the stage during a graduation ceremony.
"Humph.", the Doctor grunted as he peered over his shoulder with a single raised eyebrow and gave the Commander a, "You ain't seen nothin' yet." Expression.
"Just wait until that little warp drive of yours kicks in."
Syndi updated the Lieutenant Commander once again, "Current speed 45kn. Throttle at 56%."
The interior of the M.A.N.T.A was bathed in a cool blue light emanating from Nick's suit. He was cool and calm as he steadily increased the ship's throttle. Flying above the coral and rock formations on the ocean floor made for a much smoother ride.
Although Nick's head remained stationary, his eyes darted from display to display taking in the plethora of data on the 3d projected readouts.
"How's she handling?", Commander Kennedy asked over the comms.
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...