• 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.

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Take a Note

The next few days since the Island had been rather mundane by comparison, as the two had settled into what Ryley had explained had been his usual routine, swimming out to collect whatever resources they could find, metals, stones plants and other strange things throughout this alien ocean. Ryley had expanded the base, adding a few observation posts and some large rooms, as well as reinforcing several walls around the base. Inside the large rooms he had placed several planters into which they had now placed their new crops from the floating island, which had grown at remarkable speed, and already the islands Lantern Fruit, Marblemelons and Chinese Potatoes had become staples of their diets, something Rainbow was extremely grateful for as the Creepvine she had previously been eating had been pretty disgusting.

Once the farm (if it could even be called that) was sorted out the rest of the following days had been spent gathering materials, something which typically saw them splitting up to cover more ground, with Ryley heading out in the Seamoth to gather more obscure materials and Rainbow Dash spending her time mostly in and around the Safe Shallows. For Rainbow Dash these trips generally consisted of looking for the oddly shaped rocks to smash open, picking up scrap metals and crystals, as well as occasionally dodging Stalkers, large sharp toothed fish that she often found herself racing with over whatever scrap metal she could find.

Today had largely consisted of another one of those scavenging trips for Rainbow Dash, as she frantically paddled away from a pair of Stalkers whilst dragging a large chunk of scrap metal behind her.

"Would you buzz off already I found this first!" Sadly this shout proved just as useless as the many previous (and one-sided) arguments she'd had with these fish over the last few days, the Stalkers where large fish, longer than Rainbow Dash in length, and their bites were extremely painful. However between explanations from the PDA and her own experiences it had become clear to Rainbow Dash that they weren't actually trying to eat her, they were just extremely aggressive, this had turned the initial worry (not fear, obviously) into annoyance at their constant attacks, hence why she had taken to shouting at them. It also helped that she knew by now that whilst she couldn't out-swim them, she was more agile than them and could easily dodge out of the way when she saw them coming.

Of course that was when she wasn't being dragged down by a big hunk of metal, like she was right now. As the Stalkers caught up and latched onto the piece of salvage, dragging it, and with it Rainbow Dash, back down towards the Creepvine Forest, a small part of Rainbow Dash was tempted to grab on and pull back, but having gone through this song and dance several times by now, instead she resigned herself to the loss and let go, watching as the two Stalkers instead began to wrestle with each other as they dragged the piece back down. "What do you even want with that stuff anyway?" Naturally they didn't answer, and Rainbow Dash instead slowly paddled towards the surface.

As she waited for the oxygen tanks to refill she found her gaze drifting towards the Aurora, looking towards the destroyed front half of the ship in particular. "Hey PDA, has Ryley made it inside yet?"

"Unknown, the radiation surrounding the Aurora interferes with transmissions, contact was lost seventeen minutes ago, if Captain Ryley managed to maintain his planned course then he would have made it on board by now." Rainbow was glad that the PDA managed to refrain from its typical sense of humour this time, Rainbow Dash was feeling angsty enough about being left out of this trip as it was.


Yesterday

"What do you mean I'm not coming, why the heck not?" Ryley didn't even bother looking back as he rifled through the lockers.

"I don't have a suit for you, the radiation would kill you."

"So? Just make another suit like you did with this one." She held out a black coated leg for emphasis, however as Ryley was already shaking his head.

"That suit is a patch job, a radiation suit needs to be completely sealed with no imperfections, if there's even the smallest gap the radiation will seep in." He stood up now with items in hand and made his was towards the hatch even as Rainbow Dash flew in front of his face.

"So I'll just tough it out, just a little bit of poison won't be a problem. Come on don't leave me out of the alien spaceship!" This time he did stop, causing Rainbow Dash to overshoot him for a moment, and after a short pause looked her straight in the eyes.

"You've never seen what radiation does to a person have you?" Rainbow leaned back slightly, put off by the sudden intensity in his gaze.

"Well, no, but-"

"Well I have, it doesn't take much, and trust me when I say it's definitely the worst possible way to die. Very slow and very painful." Ryley didn't wait for a response, pushing past Rainbow Dash and stepping out of the base, leaving her hovering inside.


Present

Rainbow Dash only asked one more time that day, with similar results, after that she hadn't pushed the subject any further, he seemed extremely unwavering about this point.

She'd also asked the PDA about the symptoms of radiation poisoning as well, and suffice to say, it never held back in its explanations.

"I swear I'm gonna get nightmares from just those descriptions." Further rumination on those rather horrific mental images was fortunately interrupted by a beep from the PDA itself.

"Seek fluid intake." A sigh escaped her as she glanced down at the HUD, for a moment she'd thought it might be an alert about Ryley. Still now that it was brought to her attention, she was thirsty. After a quick glance to confirm the oxygen was full, she dived right back down into the ocean below.

Surrounded as they where by a massive saltwater ocean, clean water wasn't exactly easy to acquire. Currently they had two methods. One was taking salt and fragments of the massive coral tubes and turning them into bleach, and using that to disinfect the water.

The other method was a bit more, unusual. It involved catching a strange fish with two big pink sacks along its back and belly (the PDA called them Bladderfish), and then, processing them in the fabricator, which ended up with a bottle of water. She wasn't entirely sure how a fish turned into water, and the PDA had given a more complex explanation about it but even without the language barrier, most of it flew over her head, all she knew was Bladderfish into fabricator made water.

Rainbow wasn't too fond of the second option, it wasn't so much the deaths of the fish that bothered her, Rainbow had eaten fish before (usually with Gilda looking back on it) though the taste wasn't much to her liking, she had no real moral qualms with it. Even so it was hard not to feel a little bad for the fish, especially with how easy they were to catch.

That said however it was the much easier and faster method, despite being in a saltwater ocean, actual salt deposits where surprisingly hard to find, and Bladderfish where both plentiful and slow. And as she plunged back into the ocean she remembered another advantage of Bladderfish, their large pink bladders made them rather easy to spot.

A short swim later and two small Bladderfish where wriggling in her hooves (which definitely did not make her feel much better about this), and Rainbow turned back towards the base, at which point she suddenly noticed two things. Firstly the short chase of the Bladderfish had brought her right next to the creepvine forest again. Secondly (and a bit more prudently) there was now yet another Stalker swimming right at her, jaws wide open.

Frantically she kicked back, but the Stalker was already on top of her, and even now she could tell she wouldn't be able to dodge it. The Stalker closed the last of the gap its gaping jaws snapping shut, before it turned right back around and swam back into the creepvine.

Rainbow blinked in confusion as it swam away without even nipping her, before looking down at her now empty hoof, the Bladderfish having been snapped right out of her hoof by the Stalker. "Huh, that's weird." She looked back towards the Creepvine before remembering that she still had another Bladderfish, and turned around to paddle slowly back towards the base, lost in thought. But about halfway back to the base, already on high alert, she noticed a small shadow over her shoulder and spun around again to see.

The same Stalker from earlier swimming up to her again, except now with a giant piece of scrap metal in its mouth. The sight of that alone was enough to get Rainbow to stop for a moment, allowing the Stalker to catch up, whereupon it immediately dropped the piece and swam right back around to the Creepvine, leaving Rainbow floating in place dumbfounded.

"Uhm, PDA, has that ever happened before?" A short beep sounded before the response in her ear.

"Clarification required. What happened?" Rainbow turned her head to look at the device in shock.

"What do you mean what happened? A Stalker gave me a piece of metal, how do you miss that?" There was a slightly longer pause after that before it responded.

"This device does not have any optical observation features, information is processed through readings from the suit and general scans of the surrounding area, specific details are not observable without the use of a scanner. Back to your previous question, there is no recorded data of a Stalker giving Ryley or yourself a piece of salvage before."

Again the PDA didn't elaborate, but this time Rainbow had stopped expecting it to, instead as she swam back to the base, she looked down at the two objects in her hooves.


"Welcome aboard, Passenger."

The loud voice of the base welcomed her as it always did when she stepped back inside the base, and once again it annoyed Rainbow Dash that she was referred to as 'Passenger' while Ryley got to be 'Captain.' Vice Captain would be way cooler, or First Mate, or really any kind of crew member, she was pulling her weight around here after all, but apparently despite Ryley being the Captain, he couldn't make her part of the crew, something about 'contracts' and 'species not recognised by Alterra Corporation.' She'd also tried to get the base to stop saying anything to her as well, but then the PDA had started droning on about 'mental health' and 'the welcoming spirit of the Alterra corporation.' And so as with many of her gripes with the PDA, Rainbow Dash had resigned herself to this annoyance, She had at one point considered the PDA's suggestion of submitting feedback to the Alterra corporation, but Ryley told her that Alterra never responded to any of those complaints (and also that no one would be able to read it anyway).

And so it was that Rainbow Dash limited herself a little bit of quiet grumbling as she quickly processed both the scrap metal and the fish. Packing away the new lumps of titanium while sipping away at the new bottle of water (and trying very hard not to think about what it was moments before, as per usual) Rainbow instead took note of the many empty shelves in the designated 'titanium locker,' it was barely half full now, despite it being the item they found most frequently. Ryley said they always needed more titanium, but the more they gathered the further and further out they had to go to find it, apparently when he'd first crashed here the shallows had been full of limestone outcrops to be mined for titanium, but now according to Ryley the most reliable source of Titanium was the Creepvine forests, as in Ryley's own words, "Those toothy bastards always manage to find scrap metal from somewhere."

Of course those very same 'Toothy Bastards, where also what made collecting all of those scrap pieces so challenging, for the most part Stalker's weren't a lethal danger, they usually just gave it one painful bite before swimming off, of course if you swam into a group of the creatures...

She paused for a moment, staring at the empty shelves, and thinking back to a few minutes ago. "Maybe."


Rainbow approached the Creepvine forest tentatively, a small peeper in her grasp. The PDA had said that the Stalkers seemed to prefer hunting Peepers over any other fish in the ocean, and for that matter Ryley preferred Peepers as well, greater nutritional value or something like that. They were also like most fish in this ocean rather easy to catch.

She stopped just outside of the forest and waited, eyes peeled for any sign of movement, and it wasn't long before her watchfulness was rewarded. The familiar shape of a Stalker emerged from the Creepvine on a beeline straight towards Rainbow Dash. However unlike every other time this had happened, Rainbow ignored her instincts and held her ground.

That decision was rewarded when instead of clamping down on her hoof, the stalkers jaw snapped up the peeper and swam back into the creepvine. Again Rainbow waited in place anxiously keeping an eye out for any more Stalkers, she didn't have any more bribes for them. Eventually the creepvine shifted and parted again, revealing the same Stalker swimming towards her, holding a massive chunk of metal in its jaws, before depositing it right in front of her.

"Okay, let's see if I got this right." Rainbow muttered as she cautiously swam down towards the metal, eyes never leaving the Stalker which was now floating in place, eyes locked on her. The stare-off continued as she slowly picked the scrap up and then began to back away towards the base, waiting for the Stalker to rush her, to change its mind.

Instead the massive fish silently watched her for another few moments, before turning around and swimming into the forest behind it.

Only once it was completely out of sight did Rainbow Dash finally let out the enormous sigh she had felt building inside her chest. "Ughh I don't know how Fluttershy does that." Then she glanced down at the scrap piece in her hooves, and felt a chuckle escape her lips.

"Heh. Hehehe ha ha ha ha! Oh wow that was stupid!" Fluttershy had warned her about feeding wild animals, it had happened soon after Rainbow had moved to Ponyville.

"But you do it all the time!"

"Yes, but I'm good with animals, I can tell when they're grumpy or hungry or happy or scared, you can't. Animals can be very unpredictable, especially when it comes to food." It had been a rare moment of Fluttershy assertiveness, before Twilight and the Elements of Harmony.

"You probably could have just asked it nicely couldn't you Flutters?"

She shook away yet another moment of reminiscence as she stepped inside the base, also shaking the water off for good measure as she was met with the familiar greeting.

"Oh right." She turned her head back.

"So I gave the Stalker another fish and it gave me another chunk of metal, soo now we know. Take a note I guess?" Her hoof awkwardly rubbed at the back of her head as she looked down at the PDA Tablet.

"Great and now I'm talking like Twilight."

There was no beep of acknowledgement, or any kind of reaction really, just the voice speaking in her ear. "Noted."

After an awkward moment of standing there, Rainbow eventually just stepped up to the fabricator and began disassembling it.

"Maybe I should give that Stalker a name...
Toothy?"

Author's Note:

Yay more words!

I actually started writing more again about two weeks ago, but then all the uni assignments happened I had to slightly readjust my priorities.

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