• 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.

  • ...

Final Fates

Whilst Rainbow Dash had been making startling revelations about planet 4546B, Ryley had been doing what occupied most of his life these days, collecting materials. Seamoths are complicated machines and even with the vastly simplified process afforded by fabricator technology there was still a fairly decent shopping list that Ryley had to complete in order to replace the old Seamoth. Glass and lead where easy enough, and he'd already gathered a bit of copper in his last outing. Titanium too there was no shortage of on this planet, at least not in the region that Ryley had been lucky enough to crash land in, he didn't even have to go to the Creepvine Forests for that.

Unfortunately for Ryley, he did have to go there to acquire rubber and lubricant, resources he could only make from the Creepvines themselves, this had necessitated another series of short and annoying encounters with the Stalkers, and while their metal biting was a rather annoying habit of theirs, they were also still predators, and when he entered their territory, they never hesitated to try and take some bites out of Ryley himself. Of course by now Ryley was well and truly familiar with the Stalkers hunting methods, so much that he never felt in any real danger when he entered their lair, but their bites still hurt, a lot. And so it was that when Ryley finally returned to his base, he did so once again marked in bites and scratches from those oh so annoying Stalkers, and thoroughly annoyed.

"Alright Rainbow Dash, I just need to assemble the pieces and then I'll make the new Seamoth, meet me back at the base." He started the long process of refining his raw resources, converting the raw leaves, seed pods, and metal ores into the far more refined ingredients, it took about a minute before he could start making the components themselves, a power cell and a condensed titanium ingot, before he finally took note of the silence from that minute, and he raised his hand to his ear radio.

"Rainbow Dash? You there?" No response. He started making his way to the hatch. "PDA, where is Rainbow Dash? Is she hurt?"

"Subject Rainbow Dash is currently unharmed. She is currently approaching from 800 metres to the Southwest." Ryley stopped and turned in that direction.

"Wait, how far? Activate her Radio beacon." A small circle appeared in his vision, strangely at the very top of his vision, though not 800 metres away, but 700.

"600 metres." Ryley followed the fast moving circle as it drew closer and closer while the PDA decided to helpfully inform him of the rapidly shrinking number of metres away she was.

"500 metres. 400 metres." It was at this point, amidst all the confusion, that Ryley finally realized what was happening, as he quickly stepped through the hatch and into the sea.

"300 metres."

"I said learn how to swim and stay close to the base." A swarm of bubbles filled his vision as he swam out and looked back up at the surface.

"200 metres."

"So how does she manage to do the exact opposite and fly very far away from the base!"

"100 metres."

"Why would she even go out there anyway?" And with that there was a large splash from above, and Rainbow Dash came spearing through the surface of the water at a very alarming velocity, nearly smashing into some of the many rocks just metres from the surface.

After a short moment of concern he pushed that aside as she slowed and then stopped, and after a brief moment of visible confusion, centered her vision straight at him, and started swimming towards him. Ryley opened his mouth to start scolding her when she suddenly burst out talking.

"RYLEY RYLEY! THERE WHERE MORE HUMANS HERE! NOT FROM YOUR SHIP BUT A DIFFERENT SHIP THEY CRASHED HERE EARLIER AND WOUND UP ON AN ISLAND THAT'S JUST A LITTLE BIT THAT WAY AND THEY MADE A-" Ryley quickly held up a hand in a desperate attempt to stop the verbal tirade, which had in addition to the yammering in his hear he'd heard also resulted in the fastest speaking PDA he'd ever heard. Fortunately it seemed the hold up gesture was somewhat universal as Rainbow Dash quickly stopped talking though not before she had nearly swum up right into his face, she was a fast learner. He held a hand to his head for a moment as he tried to process what parts of the rapid fire speech the PDA had managed to translated for him.

"Okay, okay. I have a lot of question that suddenly became even more questions so lets just start with that thing you said. There were more humans here who weren't from the Aurora?" She nodded emphatically and held out a PDA she had been holding in her hooves (somehow, that was still weird) to him.

"Yeah, I found this next to an abandoned base that looked like yours except more old-abandoned-ruiny. Like a long lost temple kind of thing, and there were people talking in this thing and the PDA said its a voice log from a ship called the Degasi."

A now thoroughly confused Ryley picked up the PDA, and tapped replay on the only recording on the PDA. He listened in silence and read the attached transcript as a trio of unfamiliar voices spilled out from the device. Sure enough at the bottom of the transcript read the phrase 'Degasi Voice log #1'.

He stared at it for a few moments afterwards before his brain finally managed to process the first part of what she had said. "Wait, you mean there's another Island out there?" She nodded again.

"Yeah, just a quick ways to the southwest of here." He quickly leaned in, more thoughts rushing through his head.

"And did you see anyone else on that Island? Any other people?" She shook her head this time, but her voice didn't lose any of its previous energy.

"No, and the place looked pretty old, but I didn't have time to check the whole island, there's a big storm there right now, but do you think that maybe?" The transmission he had heard earlier began once again playing in his mind, overall it had been a rather ominous message, but the start of the transmission, the number, maybe...

His PDA beeped its oxygen reminder to him, but by then he was already swimming back to the base, a small sense of optimism finally surging through his heart as he called over his shoulder. "Come on, we have work to do!"

After the initial excitement of the discovery, the ride in the new Seamoth had become an extremely quiet one, fueled partially by the recent discoveries, and partially by the environment. After going leaving the Safe Shallows and passing through a Kelp Forest and then a red Grassy Plain, the sub was now passing through a vast empty space, few plants or even animals where in sight, and though the PDA had announced that this area appeared to be devoid of many life forms, the vast open spaces reminded both Ryley and Rainbow Dash far too much of their encounter with the Reaper Leviathan. So as the two spent most of their time nervously scanning the increasingly dark ocean around them, it gave Rainbow Dash plenty of time to think.

After listening to the recording Ryley had been extremely quick to action, immediately constructing a new Seamoth using a floating platform called a Mobile Vehicle Bay, which had as far as Rainbow could tell, simply ate the materials Ryley had provided it and then materialized the new sub right in front of it with four floating 'drones.' No matter how much the PDA kept boring her with all that talk about 'atomic fabrication technology' it still definitely looked like magic to Rainbow Dash.

From there Ryley had insisted she ride with him on account of the storm, which she had agreed to (also on account of the storm). But now after ten minutes inside the cramped submarine, the tense atmosphere and ringing silence was starting to get Rainbow Dash rather antsy. They had made a quick stop inside a small canyon to check out a lifepod, though this one unlike Ryley's pod had sunk to the bottom of the ocean, and had a very large hole on its side. Ryley had left Rainbow in the sub for that, as apparently the pod was too deep for the Seamoth, but it hadn't taken Ryley long to swim down collect whatever he had been after and make it back.

He did come back with a few scratches, having been attacked by 'a plant and some leeches' while he was down there, but he had insisted they where minor injuries, and also came back more determined than before to make it to the island, sharing with Rainbow a recording of a 'Second Officer Keen' (she guessed it was a he from the voice) talking with the captain of the Aurora, which had ended with an ominous explosion, and a second data pad which the PDA told her was orders from Keen to meet up at some attached coordinates, with a new marker appearing on the mask HUD (the 'Aurora Redezvous Point') which just so happened to be in the same direction as the Island they where heading towards.

That brief stop aside they had continued towards the island in silence, passing into more dark empty waters, Ryley once again scanning the surrounding area, while Rainbow Dash, now well and truly fed up with the silence, spoke up.

"So do you know anything about the Degasi?" Ryley didn't stop watching the ocean (for that matter neither had Rainbow Dash), but he did give the question a few seconds of thought before answering.

"I know it was a Mongol ship, and that is had at least three crew, and that it crashed here a few years ago." This time Rainbow looked away from the ocean to Ryley, confusion writ across her face.

"Seriously, that's it?" Ryley just shrugged at that and continued driving, leaving Rainbow to stew in her thoughts again, this time she got bored after just a few seconds, and asked a new question.

"So what is Mongol?" This time there was a lot more silence as Ryley seemed to put much more thought into this question, his 'thinking face' on display long enough that Rainbow started to wonder if he was ever going to answer before he finally spoke up.

"They're another Trans-Gov, like Alterra, but they're a bit different, they're not a corporation, but they do have corporations. They're competitors, but they also buy Alterra products, I don't really know all that much about it to be honest, never been much into politics. I just know we were building the Phase Gate to do it before the Mongols."

"So wait, Alterra is a country, and a corporation. How does that work?" Another shrug.

"I can't really explain, it makes sense to me but I've lived in Alterra all my life so I don't really know how to explain it to someone else. I'm a citizen of Alterra, but I can also work for it as an employee, I don't really understand how people live another way, but the Alterra way works, for a lot of people at least." Rainbow Dash stewed on that thought for a bit as she stared back out into the ocean, a country but also a corporation?

"Would that be like living in a country run by Flim and Flam?" She shuddered at the thought, before another question came to her.

"So the Mongol's, what're they like?"

"Hmmm, they're independent, religious, stubborn, honestly I haven't met very many Mongolians, we had one on the ship but we weren't supposed to talk to him very much, but he was nice, I suppose." This time Ryley shook his head before looking back at Rainbow Dash. "What about you? What's your country like, I'm guessing its not a corporation." Rainbow couldn't resist laughing at that.

"HA, no, not a corporation." She leaned forwards into the cockpit and began to wave her hooves around as she started to reminisce. "It's a kingdom, the kingdom of Equestria, where a thousand years ago all three tribes came together in friendship and harmony to save each other from the Windigoes. It used to be run by Princesses Celestia and Luna, but then Luna became Nightmare Moon and Celestia sent her to the moon, but then Nightmare Moon came back so me and my friends blasted her with the Elements of Harmony which turned her back into Princess Luna, so it was the two of them. But then Twilight figured out some really cool magic and became an Alicorn and the Princesses said they where going to retire so now Twilight is the Princess of Equestria and she runs the country but we help so I guess we help her run the country now." She took a deep breath and sighed as she wrapped up, leaning back once again.

"Well I guess I'm not really helping right now." She stared out the cockpit for a moment, before noticing the dead silence and looking back at Ryley to see him for once not looking out the cockpit, but instead staring at her, wide eyed.

"What?" That shook him out of it and with a jerk Ryley redirected his gaze at the surrounding ocean.

"Oh, uhh, nothing. That's, a lot." Rainbow frowned but did not press the matter, talking about Equestria was starting to depress her and so instead she returned to scanning the surrounding ocean, at least until Ryley spoke up again.

"So, the moon huh?" She rolled her eyes.

"What about it?"

"Celestia sent her sister there. On a rocket or something?" Another eye roll.

"No, she trapped her there with the Elements of Harmony for a thousand years, her face was on the moon while i was growing up."

"Ah. Okay... Makes sense." Now she stood up to glare at Ryley, who was now scanning the ocean with much more focus than before, even as he kept biting his lips and scanning every part of the ocean that faced away from her.

"Well whats that supposed to mea-" Suddenly the Seamoth sopped in place, sending Rainbow tumbling into the glass, bumping her head against it rather painfully. She stood back up with a grimace holding her head gingerly. "OW, what the heck?" Ryley just nodded upwards, where his gaze was now focused.

"We're here." Rainbow turned her gaze to the front where she now noticed a very different ocean than the one they had been driving through for the past few minutes. Ahead of them was a forest floating spotted blue balls, each glowing and attached to the ground by four long tethers, the ground they were attached to seemed like an underwater mountain, or mountains, it was hard to tell from this perspective. But the most startling sight was what lay above them, a massive floating island.

The island looked quite large from down here, and from this angle was far less flat than above, with dozens of small rocky spires pointing down, so many that Rainbow Dash was worried some of them might fall on top of them, but none of those spires reached down to the bottom, and looking around she could see no indicator that the Island was at all attached to the seafloor. Instead all along the bottom of the Island there were a series of massive pink glowing blobs stuck to the bottom, similar to the ones she had seen holding up rocks in the Safe Shallows which the PDA had called Floaters, but these where those floaters had been the size of a small ball, some of these floaters looked larger than Ryley's entire base!

"Uh, Ryley. Is that, common on this planet?"

"... No, at least I don't think so." Was all Ryley said as he slowly drove them up towards the underside of the island. As they neared the underside Rainbow Dash could see that many of the spires and rocks where covered with small corals, and she could also see that above along the surface, rolling waves and a grey sky above, the storm it seemed was still in full swing. Ryley started to back the Seamoth away from the island as he started to look for a safe place to surface, but as they neared the top the effects of the storm became more and more pronounced as the swirling currents began buffeting the submarine around, which made the interior significantly less comfortable as Ryley struggled against the currents.

In the first attempt to surface they had been afforded a brief glimpse of the storm wracked island, covered in heavy rain and swirling winds pulling on the various plants across the island, before the viscous currents pulled them down and nearly hurled them into the island, with Ryley swiftly descending to safety after a near impact. The second attempt accomplished even less as the sub didn't even breach the surface before it was hurled into one of the pillars below the island, the impact ringing in the ears of the subs occupants as Ryley again descended another sixty metres to safety.

It was then that Rainbow Dash, now leaning against the glass, finally saw it, looking at the actual marker of the 'Aurora Rendezvous Point' she spotted something odd, (well something else that was odd when dealing with a floating island anyway). "Hey Ryley, you see that?" He followed her foreleg to look towards the centre of the Island, where there was not only was the rendezvous maker, but also where a small circle of light pierced the ocean surface.

"A hole? In the middle of the island?" Rainbow nodded, looking from Ryley to the hole, and taking careful note of water around and inside said hole.

"Do you think maybe it might be easier to bring the Seamoth up there?" Ryley looked between the hole, and then back at the swirling waters above them, and sighed.

"Worth a try, its probably better than getting smashed against the rocks anyway." And began to drive the Seamoth under the island towards the hole. The hunch proved correct, in a sense at least, while the waters weren't calm nearing the hole, they were substantially less rough than around the island, weak enough that the Seamoth itself was able to automatically compensate for the issues.

After ensuring that the Seamoth wouldn't wind up smashing against the island once they left it, Ryley once again brought the submarine up to again breach the surface of the water. Surrounding the hole was a circle of rocky overarching walls, making the hole even smaller up above, there were a handful of plants visible as they leaned over the edges, swaying violently in the wind, at the bottom there was mostly more sheer rock, however there where two small sandy beaches, and most importantly, a small cave to the right of the Seamoth.

As Ryley opened the hatch and the two climbed out, Rainbow Dash immediately noticed the relative lack of wind, which she immediately took advantage of as she took flight circling the small opening, though being careful to stay inside the hole. The rain fell heavy and slick against her mane and wetsuit, annoying but at the same time strangely comforting considering how much time she had spent underwater recently. Nevertheless she quickly rushed to the cover of the cave.

Leaving Ryley to slowly paddle to one of the beaches she explored the rest of this natural cave, the water followed the tunnel until it made a short turn to the right before a transitioning into a slow upwards slope, leaving the ocean behind. The cave walls and floor starting here where covered in short green grass, and dotted with a handful of other plants, ferns some with red glowing tips, purple mushrooms, purple mushrooms vines and lichen all the way along the tunnel. A steady trickle of water also flowed down this slope, which Rainbow followed to finally lay sight on the tunnel entrance, the island opening up beyond it overlooking the ocean. Smiling Rainbow called back down the tunnel behind her.

"Come on up Ryley, this cave leads up to the rest of the island." She dropped to the tunnel floor and stepped up to the cave entrance sticking her head out into the harsh wind and rains to look about. Despite the storm she could still make out the glowing fires of the Aurora in the distance, but looking up she also noticed small breaks in the clouds, through which she could see the dimming sky, the storm was dying down, Rainbow guessed it would still last another hour or so but the worst of it was over (though it was admittedly hard to tell on this alien planet) and more importantly it looked like it was getting dark outside. "Eh, we have torches anyway." She looked back behind her but neither saw nor heard any sign of her human companion.

"Ryley?" No answer, grumpy and a little concerned Rainbow quickly made her way back down the tunnel to see Ryley sitting against the wall on the beach, staring at the floating Seamoth, his PDA hanging in one of his hands. No, not his PDA. Confused Rainbow hovered over to him.

"Is that another Degasi recording? What does it say?" Ryley said nothing, not even looking up as he stared into the water, except, looking closer his gaze seemed, vacant. After a few moments of being drenched in the rain Rainbow was about to ask again before he let out a deep sigh and held the PDA out to her, still not looking up. Now a bit grumpy and annoyed at Ryley she took the proffered PDA and after a moment of asking their PDA what it said, played the recording of the 'Rendezvous Voicelog.'

What followed was a short conversation between a CTO Yu (voice sounded female) and Second Officer Keen, arguing about boarding the Aurora to repair something on it, though against the idea Keen eventually decided to go with Yu to the island. "I guess we just missed them." But as she was about to say as such to Ryley, the PDA recording interrupted her.

"Received emergency transmission from Second Officer Keen two hours after last activity." After which the now (worryingly) tired voice of Keen spoke out again.

"Rendezvous was a failure. Intercepted a transmission from Alterra HQ, seems they sent a data package to the Aurora. We were intercepted by a leviathan class predator before we could reach the ship. Consider the CTO and I lost at sea. Be safe. Keen.. out."

The rain suddenly became far less of a concern, Rainbow quietly lowered the PDA and took another look at Ryley, who still had not moved. Ryley's face was still alien to her but she had been finding it tended to show remarkably pony like expression thus far (just with much smaller facial features) and she felt she was by now decent at guessing his facial expressions. This expression had been hard to read before, but now looking at it again, the distant but hard stare, the otherwise motionless face, she felt she new exactly what he was displaying right now, resignation.

"Oh..." The rain seemed much more appropriate now.

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