• Published 2nd Mar 2018
  • 2,414 Views, 190 Comments

Down into the Deep - DenyTheWitch

On the distant Planet 4546B, two aliens must delve deep into the abyss to discover a way home, and discover a great many other secrets in the process. Some of which are not happy to be found.

  • ...

New Trails

The safe shallows is what the PDA called it, the area in which Ryley had made his base, and for the most part he had to agree with that name. The safe shallows where as the name implied, very shallow, the deepest it got was about 80 metres down but some parts where just barely a metre below the surface, in fact he was pretty sure there was one piece of Coral that actually stick above the water. It was very rocky area, covered in outcrops, pits, arches and even small caves scattered about the place. Most of it was covered in sand but there where lots of corals and plants in the area as well.

His base sat in one of the shallowest parts of the Safe Shallows, barely five metres from the surface. The area in front of the base dropped to about thirty metres down and was generally more devoid of flora and fauna than the space behind the base, and the seafloor was smoother in front, smoother being a relative term here. It was this space in front of the base where Rainbow Dash had been practicing, with his oversight. There was just more space, and less chance of Rainbow Dash swimming into rock or particularly big piece of Coral.

Watching her swim had itself been quite amusing, at first she seemed to just be trying to fly underwater, flapping her wings a lot and barely kicking at all. But after listening to his advice she seemed to get the hang of it, more focused on kicking with her back legs, instead using her wings for steering to where it now seemed like she was gliding through the water. No longer having to help her he ran out of distractions for the recent series of terrible events his life had become.

"First my ship crashes on an unexplored planet, then my rescue ship gets shot down, then I turn out to have gotten infected with an alien disease, then I get attacked by a giant Sea Monster, and then I find out we're being hunted by more aliens!" At this point he was just trying to compartmentalize these things and not freak out about everything. Though a glance at his left hand reminded him that that wasn't really going to solve anything (did it feel itchy?). But if he had any chance of getting out of this alive he needed to keep a level head.

"Hey, are you in there? Hello." His gaze refocused to the sight of Rainbow Dash right in front of him waving a hoof in front of his face, having apparently swum over during his internal monologue.

"Sorry, you said something?" Ok, that pout was actually adorable.

"Yeah I did! I asked what that was?" He followed her hoof to see two large fish swimming in their direction, bigger than Ryley and much fatter, they had two round eyes on their relatively small heads with big mouth tubes hanging below, two large pelvic fins on either side of their fat bodies, and a massive bulbous tail covered in glowing greenish-yellow spots.

"Gasopods, just keep your distance and you'll be fine." Rainbow threw a quizzical glance at the big, fat fish.

"That thing? It doesn't look very dangerous."

"It's not, so long as you leave it alone. Now why don't you go and explore this area, the PDA can answer any questions you have about this place, just stay in the shallows and stay out of the caves." Rainbow Dash squirmed an eyebrow at him.

"Okay, and what are you going to do?"

"I'm going scavenging." And with that he turned around and swam off. Maybe he shouldn't be leaving her alone, but he needed to make a new Seamoth, and he wasn't quite sure how much time they had. Besides this was a still the Safe Shallows, so long as she listened to what he said she'd be fine. And the PDA could answer any questions she had about the local wildlife, he was pretty sure he'd scanned everything around here.

What made the Safe Shallows safe was the wildlife, there where no Stalkers, no Sandsharks or Bone Sharks, and no giant Seamoth eating Reaper Leviathans. Most creatures here had their names given to them by the scanner which choose a memorable name after it has scanned them. And Ryley had been scanning everything he met to make sure he knew as much as possible about everything here, well, almost everything.

His left leg twinged at the memory of the thing that had attacked them, with most predators around here he just shot them with the stasis rifle and then scanned them while they where frozen. However Ryley hadn't had much desire to scan the creature that attacked them, even if in hindsight a fully charged stasis rifle shot probably froze it for long enough. It wasn't as if he'd been thinking straight or academically at the time. However one of the empty lifepods he had found had made mention of extremely aggressive leviathan class predators, said the scanner had called them Reapers. He wasn't certain that the creature that attacked them was the same kind that had attacked lifepod 4, but for now at least it felt like a safe enough bet. He wasn't sure he could take there being more kinds of Leviathan predators on this deathball.

But in any case in this area there where only two creatures that could hurt Rainbowdash here, the suicidal exploding Crashfish and the Gasopods. But the Crashfish lived exclusively in caves and he'd already warned her about the Gasopods.

Well there was the possibility of a Stalker swimming over from one of the Kelp forests. But, no, the worst those things did was give a nasty bite, and from watching her swim he was sure she was faster than them. "I can't be coddling her, so long as she doesn't do anything reckless she'll be fine."

The water frothed around her as she thrashed about, creating a writhing mass of foamy water and flailing limbs. She struggled to breathe, even in those brief moments her head rose above the water, and she couldn't see anything through the tears in her eyes.

"Bwaha ha ha ha ha ha!"

"Subject Rainbow Dash, continued proximity is I'll advised. It is suggested that you take your distance from the poisonous gas."

"Ha ha, don't you-pfft ha ha. Don't you mean the poisonous farts? He he he."

"The gas released by the Gasopod is not its stomach wind. It is created by the algae living in the specialized algae glands grown on its rear."

"You mean it's butt, he he."

"No fecal matter passes through that part of the Gasopod, it would be more accurate to refer to it as a tail." Rainbow Dash finally stopped laughing and glanced back into the water.

"That's a pretty fat tail."

Rainbow Dash had been following Ryleys advice, she'd swim around asking for the names of all the fish, coral and plants around, and kept her distance from the Gadopods. She's even stayed out of the caves, which, when she asked the PDA, turned out to be because they had suicidal exploding fish in them, which did sound cool but also pretty painful. But as she had been swimming around she stopped paying quite as much attention to her surroundings as she usually did. At some point a Gasopod had actually swam towards her, and she didn't realize until she swam up for air and nearly bumped headfirst into it.

At that point the Gasopod employed its defensive strategy, releasing loads of yellow bubbles from its rear, which then exploded into little yellow gas clouds. Or as Rainbow Dash preferred to think of it, farted. After that Rainbow Dash quickly made her way to the surface, keeping her distance from the gas, and proceeded to cackle like Pinkie Pie for the next few minutes.

"The gas expelled by the Gasopod is extremely corrosive, contact would burn through you suit, fur and skin in seconds. Keeping your distance is advised."

"Yeah, yeah, I get it, silent but deadly." She tried really hard to keep a straight face after that, and managed for about two seconds before another chuckle escaped her lips.

"Pfft, he he." *sigh*" Having finally calmed down she took a moment to look around. There wasn't much to see however, to the north was the mountain island, standing tall above the waves but still barely visible. In light of what happened there it almost looked a little sinister. She shook her head an turned away before more, uncomfortable memories could surface and instead she turned to look at the only other visible landmark, the wreckage of the Aurora.

It really was massive, much bigger than any island she had seen on this planet, and it looked like half of it was missing.

"... Hey PDA, how many uhh, humans, where on that ship?"

"The Aurora had a crew of 157 individuals including 23 command crew, 85 engineers, 40 support crew and 9 passengers."

"And, how many of them survived the crash?"

"Unknown, many of the Auroras lifepods where launched before impact, however it is extremely unlikely that many of the crew managed to escape before impact." Rainbowdash deflated at that, then perked up slightly as the first part of that statement sunk in.

"But some of them did right? So there might be other survivors out there right?"

"Possible, however Captain Ryley has already investigated four other lifepods and found no survivors as well as evidence of their likely deaths." And with that she deflated again, still.

"But there might be some other survivors, right? In lifepods he hasn't checked."

"Currently only the locations of two other lifepods is known, both are at depths currently inaccessible to Ryley and yourself."

"Okay, but if some of the crew did survive what would they do?" Rainbow Dash thought she heard a tint of exasperation in the PDA's next reply.

"Standard procedure would be for the highest ranking officer to provide a rendezvous point nearby, on this planet most likely a place of dry land, and gather there. However there where no crew at the previous island." Rainbow started to slowly swim towards the lifepod, an idea forming in her head.

"But if there was another piece of dry land?"

"The Aurora is currently a radiation hotspot due to the detonation of its reactor core, the crew would not rally there." She paused just as she was starting to climb up the lifepod, now throwing a concerned look over to the wreck.

"Um, I'm not sure what radiation is, but it sounds bad, how far does that reach?"

"Prolonged exposure to nuclear radiation has multiple negative effects up to and including death."

"Oh... Should we move?"

"Current distance is sufficient protection from the radiation for now."

"Well that isn't ominous." Rainbow shook that thought away for another time and climbed up to the top of the pod, shaking the water from her wings as she looked around. "Well I wasn't talking about the Aurora any way, I meant what if there was another island, would the other survivors have gathered there?" Satisfied with the short inspection she turned her gaze to the south.

"Possibly." She grinned and crouched down wings flared.

"Good." And then she leapt from the pod and flew.

Flying in the suit was definitely more difficult, it was much heavier than her flightsuit after all and that was without the added weight of the oxygen tank. In fact the weight was a such a surprise that she nearly crashed straight back into the water before she managed to correct herself and climb up higher. But once that small hiccup was out of the way she began a steady climb.

Rainbow had crossed a few islands on the way to the mountain where she met Ryley, but most of those where very far behind them. However among those she faintly remembered seeing another island relatively close to the mountain island, though she wasn't sure exactly where it was she did have a good idea that it was somewhere west of their current position. So she flew straight up at first, stopping at about 500 metres above sea level, and cast her gaze across the sea.

Sure enough her memory was correct, to the north stood the mountain island, but to the southwest, a bit further away and surrounded by low clouds there was another island. This one didn't have a big mountain but rather two smaller mountains, more like steep hills honestly, it also looked larger in terms of space and it also didn't seem to have any massive alien structures on it. However it was hard to make out details from this distance, but it seemed to be the only other landmass she could see, with the only other noticeable sight being a rolling storm front moving in from the south. Rainbow allowed herself a small grin and she started flying straight towards it, though she did keep an eye on the storm front, which seemed to be moving towards the same Island she was. "Better make this quick." But as she started to get closer she noticed there was also something else, something she could just barely make out as she made flew closer and closer.

"Those look a bit like Ryleys base!" Sitting on top of the two hills there looked to be small structures, like pieces of Ryleys base has been taken off and planted above ground, two tubes with what looked like glass balls on the end. But as she got closer and started to come in for a landing something else started to stand out about these buildings, something much less promising.

These structures looked old, not the pristine white of his base, they where dulled, grimy, dirty, even the glass was filthy, covered in grime and hard to see through, though from what she could see there did look to be something inside. And as Rainbow Dash zeroed in, the PDA spoke up in her ear. "Picking up multiple faint energy signatures on the Island Surface."

She didn't respond , instead landing next to one, taking in the extremely rusted exterior, there was a desk inside the glass section which stuck out somewhat over the edge of the hill, probably some kind of observatory, a plant pot, and something else, what looked like a small glowing object a lot like the PDA device that Ryley held. "Probably that energy signature." A jolt of thunder to the distance reminded her of the small time limit she had, the storm wasn't big enough that she would have normally worried about it, but between the heavier load she was carrying and the fact that her usual Pegasus magic didn't seem quite as strong here, she didn't really want to try flying through the storm, nor did she relish the idea of waiting it out either.

As she made her way around to the extremely rusted door she glanced over the rest of the Island, noting the other observatory, and looking down between the two hills, a large pool, and another structure, that one looking much bigger, and also more damaged that the observatories. She also noticed with a grimace several skittering Cave Crawlers, the same creatures that had caused her so much annoyance on the mountain. "Just another reason to make this quick."

Rainbow Dash turned her attention back to the current observatory, approaching the massive but heavily rusted door she gave it a very close examination. Aside from the obvious age, it looked almost exactly the same to the doors in Ryley's base, same size, same proportions, and even, through all the muck, same colours. "PDA, did another spaceship like Ryley's crash here before the Aurora?"

"Official records indicated no, but the wreckage of other ships have been located on this planet, giving strong evidence that the Aurora is just the second most recent ship to crash here." Rainbow frowned, poking the door, noticing it wasn't budging, and then gingerly stepping past it into the dark interior of the observatory, only the dimming light from the glass and the blue glow of the tablet providing any light, giving the interior a decidedly creepy look. There where two pots with alien plants in the short corridor, and then a desk and chair with the glowing tablet sitting on top.

"But if ships have crashed here before, then why did the Aurora come here?" She slowly made her way towards the tablet, the closing storm in the distance the only thing she could see through the glass ahead.

"The Aurora was only supposed to perform a gravity slingshot around the planet towards its actual destination before it was struck down. There are no previous records of the Alien who built the defense platform and no records of any surface exploration of planet 4546B, Alterra didn't know that the Aurora could be shot down."

"But other ships have crashed here, how come no-creature came to investigate those ships?" She picked up the tablet examining it as she twirled it around in her hoof, it looked almost identical to Ryley's PDA.

"There are no records of any survivors from planet 4546B, all other crashes likely resulted in the deaths of all their crew. And planet 4546B is at the edge of Trans-System Federation space, it is not unusual for ships to go missing in such circumstances." Rainbow glared, in no particular direction, as she made her way back outside, noticing the storm moving much faster than before.

"So space ships just go missing, and no one tries to find out why?"

"Attempts would have been made, but it would also have been difficult to identify planet 4546B as the crash site. Also many of those rescue ships might have in turn, been destroyed by the defense system, and classified as lost in space." Rainbow wasn't very happy with that answer, but with the storm coming closer she resolved to put it aside for later. Probably just ask Ryley, the PDA was using a lot of word she didn't really understand, like Alterra, and besides, there where more pressing matters right now anyway.

As she slowly took off, flying back towards the lifepod indicator on her mask, she glanced back down at the tablet in her hooves, it had words on it, not that she could read them, but aside from the dull glow it didn't do very much. "What does this say?"

"Playing, prerecorded message."

Author's Note:

I had to Google the dictionary definition of both fart and butt to figure out what the PDA would say, never thought that would wind up in my search history.

Also, I now have an editor, my friend killerhellhound, so therefore any and all mistakes you may read are his fault and I am exempt from all blame.

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