• 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.

  • ...

Voices from the Walls

"87. 88. 89. 90." After that kinda plan had been sorted out, Ryley had stated a few other things they needed to do. the first thing he'd done had been to take a few extra scans of Rainbowdash.


"91. 92. 93. 94"After that he then told her he had been collecting the materials, but just needed to go out to get a few more things if he was going to make her a swimsuit. The prospect of finally getting to explore the ocean herself had been exiting enough to get her pumped, but then he told her that she wouldn't really be able to help, on account of not having a swimsuit.


"95. 96. 97. 98." But then he'd managed to talk her into sorting out another of their problems, communication. At first when he told her it was as simple as talking to a wall, and she'd thought she'd gotten the easy job. And it was definitely easy, but there was one major problem.


"99. 100. 101. 102." At first she'd tried to tell stories, mostly about her own daring feats and her friends, but then the stupid wall voice had started telling her what to say, stating that it wasn't learning enough 'important' information (apparently she kept reusing words like awesome, which she didn't see anything wrong with). So instead it has just started asking her what words meant what things, like she was a dictionary. Eventually, after what felt like hours (but was probably just 10 minutes) had led to her current situation. Staring at a wall, counting.


"Subject Rainbowdash, please be advised that we are aware that 'bored,' is not a number. Unless 102 is as high as you can count, please continue." Rainbowdash wasn't sure where exactly the voice was coming from, since it sounded like it was from everywhere, and while it had the same voice as the PDA, Ryley had taken that with him. So she wasn't sure where to direct her current stinkeye, and wound up just glaring at the roof. The infuriatingly calm and fake voice of the PDA didn't help with how annoying it was.

"Come on! Isn't that enough? Can't you figure out the rest from there?"

"Possible differences in pronunciation cannot be ignored, and these numbers will be necessary for explaining distances and times, which could be crucial for both your own and Captain Ryley's survival. At minimum it would be best if we have every number up to 1000." Rainbowdahs went wide eyed at that.

"1000! Are you kidding me?"

"PDA's do not kid, or joke, or make things up, now please continue. You where at 102." Rainbowdash grumbled to herself, and threw a quick look around to see if she could catch sight of Ryley, but alas, he still wasn't here. And with nothing else left to do, she hung her head in defeat and continued.

"103. 104. 105. 106."

"Bet Ryley's having more fun than this."

"Goddamit let go you son of a bitch!" Ryley grunted as he struggled to wrestle another piece of wreckage from the jaws of a Stalker. Stalkers where a very annoying fish in this ocean, one of the few that didn't glow, about as long as he was, with about a third of that length being a thin, tooth filled mouth. They where very aggressive and Ryley had been bitten more than once by them, and they had this very annoying habit of grabbing anything made of metal. Which led to his current situation, being stuck in a tug of war with a stalker over a piece of wreckage.

"Git! Go away!" He reached over the metal, flailing his knife around to try and chase it off, but something else he was learning today, Stalkers where quite strong. This one in particular kept flailing the large piece of scrap between them which in turn, kept knocking his knife hand away.

The Stalker snarled at him from behind the chunk of metal, and then with one last tug, tore it from his grasp. Ryley could do little more than curse to himself as it swam away, a single pointed tooth drifting down the only sign left of their little tug of war. Grumbling to himself he turned away from the Stalker and started to once again comb the seafloor for metals.

Most of the titanium he had used to make his base had come from pieces of shipwrecks, the rest he had managed to find in pieces of limestone scattered across the ocean floor. Ryley knew it wasn't an infinite supply, he'd already exhausted the limestone outcrops near his base, but for now it was good enough. The Stalkers strange habit of biting and carrying around any metal they found was at least somewhat helpful in this regard, especially since the Stalkers didn't guard any of the metal they took, usually just letting it fall to the seafloor until they or another Stalker decided to pick it up again. This did mean having to go diving into the Creepvine forests with the Stalkers though.

Ryley allowed himself a small smile as he spotted another chunk of limestone on the seafloor, gently pushing another large piece of creepvine out of the way as he prepares to smash the chunk with the surprisingly sturdy scanner. The Creepvine itself wasn't really anything special, basically just kelp, however the leaves and seeds of the Creepvine had proven quite useful for making suits, hence why he had a few leaves and seed clusters hanging off of his belt. Of course the dense forests of Creepvine did make visibility a problem, hence how Ryley had the newly freed ball of titanium snatched away by the sudden rush of another Stalker, nearly taking his fingers with it.

"Son of a Bitch!" Ryley shoved himself off of the seafloor reaching out to grab at the Stalkers tail. Stalkers weren't particularly fast creatures, with his fins Ryley could usually outswim them without too much difficulty, however at the moment Ryley was somewhat weighed down by the sheer amount of Creepvine material he was carrying, and the Stalker quickly disappeared into the forest from sight.

He grumbled to himself again before kicking his way up as the PDA reminded him of his lowering oxygen supply. At present he was carrying enough seed clusters and leaves to make the swimsuit, which did weigh him down a bit. The fabricator only made things from pre-existing blueprints, and while it could adjust those blueprints slightly to account for different sizes, it couldn't adjust for completely new body shapes. Rainbowdash was completely not the shape these suits where designed for. Even if the PDA had downsized and slightly reshaped the suit to match her, it wasn't perfect, and it still didn't have holes for her wings, he had considered the possibility of cutting holes in them himself but that might damage the more high tech features, hopefully she wouldn't mind and he wouldn't need to make the holes.

Fortunately the oxygen mask wouldn't require any modifications, especially since he wasn't sure what he even could do to fix that very crucial issue. And there shouldn't be any problems with the oxygen tank, so long as he could get the titanium necessary to make it that was. And the fins would attach to the bottom of the suit anyway, it would be a little awkward but should be fine.

He barely restrained himself from another string of curses when he smashed open another piece of Limestone only to find a chunk of copper inside, he pocketed it anyway, he'd always need copper. Even so...

"Figures I'd get copper when I'm not even looking for it."

It took another ten minutes of searching, getting bitten and smashing open limestone before he finally found Titanium and managed to not get it stolen by a Stalker.

"952, 953, 954."

Life had become meaningless.

"955, 956, 957."

There was no hope, no joy.

"958, 959, 960."

There where only numbers.

"961, 962, 963."

But at the very least.

"964, 965."

It was almost over.

"966, 96-"

"Welcome aboard, captain." Rainbowdash couldn't stop a yelp of surprise as a deep, fake voice was suddenly ringing in the chamber. It was so surprising she nearly didn't hear the sharp hissing of air she recognized as the door opening.

Ryley stepped inside, closing the hatch behind him, but now he was carrying all manner of items. His waist, in addition to holding his usual collection of weird alien objects, was also covered in small clusters of seaweed, and small bulges that she knew was where he put small chunks of metal like he had done in the caves. And when he stepped inside, he quite visibly sagged, the weight no longer being supported by the ocean.

"Finally! That took forever, it was so BOORING! That PDA thing is a real jerk you know? She made me sit here and just count for a thousand!" Ryley didn't respond at first, owlishly blinking at her, and Rainbowdash almost hit herself when she remembered the language problem, the whole point of of her past minutes of boredom. Then he replied.

"Well it's good to hear that you where doing something useful." This time Rainbowdash paused for a moment, before there was always a lot of dissonance between the translation and the alien gibberish when Ryley spoke. Now the translation happened nearly at pace with what he said, meaning she heard this weird double voice from him. It reminded her of Chrysalis a little, which was not a memory she wanted to bring up while she was stuck on an alien planet without her friends.

"Yeah... I guess we did get something done." She threw a glare at one of the box modules of the wall, the one she had mostly been speaking at. "PDA is still a jerk."

The silence that followed lasted just enough to become awkward before Ryley clapped his hands together. "Okay, well now its time to see if this works I guess, hold still please." And with that he knelt down and pulled out his scanner device, which she now knew was what the large Ring with the blue light was called, before said blue light washed over her, leaving a weird tingling sensation as it went. As he did so Rainbow noticed small bloody cuts all along his arms and hands, piercing the suit he wore and leaving small holes. And in one of those holes her eyes spotted something on his right hand.

"Um, hey. I don't know much about your species but is it normal for your skin to be green right there?" He froze for a moment, then slowly reached over with his other hand, slipping his finger into one of the holes on the back of his hand, and gently lifted it up.

His normally light brown skin was a bit darker on his hand, at the moment it was also marked with multiple small lines, cuts, fresh and old, red and white. But many of the white lines didn't match scar marks, they criss-crossed his hand, looking almost like a spiderweb. However the most unnatural part was in the middle, it had been barely peeking last the wetsuit before, and now that she saw it it looked barely more than a dot, except for the fact that it was bright green, and glowing.

Ryley stared at the dot for a few seconds, breathing slowly but deeply as he did so, before letting do of the wetsuit letting it gently slap back over the dot, once again nearly completely covering it, save for the faintest green glow peeking around the open hole. He sighed before looking back at her. "Nothing for you to worry about, we'll deal with it later, for now..." He stood back up and walked over to the wall module with the blue lasers, the Fabricating, or Fabricator? The PDA hadn't been very clear about which was right.

Deciding to take Ryley's advice, Rainbowdash instead focused on the Fabricator as Ryley got to work. Once again the device opened up, and Ryley began placing the many objects from his waist onto the opened shelf, letting the strange blue lasers disintegrate those objects, and then create something completely new. Eventually her curiosity got the better of her. "So the PDA said magic isn't real, which is stupid, but if that isn't supposed to be magic then what is it?"

Ryley didn't respond though he did at least acknowledge her question with a glance, but it was the voice of the PDA that responded to her question. "The Fabricator breaks down and rearranges objects on the absolutely smallest level, allowing the creation of anything without the costly construction of more primitive times, requiring only raw resources and a power supply. This technology was the start of the Great expansion and remains the Backbone of modern society and is commonplace in every household." Rainbowdash frowned at that, still unsure. "Its sure looks like magic to me."

"'Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.' Quote from Arthur C. Clarke, 1973. Likely your society relies on many advanced technologies they don't understand and simply refer to them as magic."

"Hey! Are you calling ponies stupid!"

"No, I was implying that they are ignorant."

"How is that any dif-"

"Done!" Shouted Ryley very suddenly, swiftly derailing Rainbows rising indignation before she focused in on what he was now holding.

It looked very much like his wet suit, but smaller, with a larger centre piece and the sleeves for legs where both wider and uniform in length. It had the same colouration as his suit, mostly black and grey, with yellow lines along the limbs and a large yellow piece around the chest shoulders, and flopping around in his hand she realised that the yellow bit was a bit mroe solid than the rest of the suit, holding a bit more of a shape. The front sleeves had holes in the front while the back had the same kind of flat shoes that she recognized on his feet, but a bit smaller, that was probably the missing flippers that he was holding in his other hand which she now saw would easily snap onto those shoes. Also in his other hand was a transparent mask with a yellow then black rim and then a black bulge at the bottom of the transparent section that had two side nozzles sticking out of it, it looked much like his mask but rounder.

The earlier annoyance at the PDA was now quickly replaced with excitement as Ryley handed the suit and its accessories over to her. She placed the other objects on the ground before hovering up to give the suit a full inspection, as she suspected the yellow part was much harder than the rest, but sticking her hoof inside it seemed it was only that way on the outside as the inside was a uniform smooth texture, not exactly silky smooth but not very uncomfortable either. But as she ran her hooves all over the suit, she realized it was missing somethings, two things to be exact. She looked back up at Ryley, her eyes narrowing ever so slightly.

"My wings, where do my wings go?" Ryley slowly placed his hand on the back of his head, giving her a grin that reminded her a lot of the grins Spike gave her when he was nervous about something.

"The suits aren't exactly designed for that, I figured you could just leave them inside the suit, the fins will give you all the speed you need under water." Her gaze shifted to a full on glare and he took a half step back.

"I mean I could cut some holes but that would damage the suit, make it work less well, right now it can protect you from severe temperatures and keep track of your food and water needs, cutting holes in it would risk its efficiency." Her glare intensified as she hovered slightly closer.

Ryley sighed. "Fine, if its that important to you." And he held his arm out to her, which she quickly dropped the suit onto, watching as he sat down below the fabricator and pulled out his knife. "This will take a minute." And with that he got to cutting.

Now satisfied that the biggest problem had been sorted she went back to inspect the fins and mask. The fins looked a lot like the fins sold back home except they had a very slight intent in the middle at the end. They where mostly a bright orange with black outlines, but the orange of the fins created a big U shape behind the indent, much bigger and rounder than the actual shape of the fin. Still they didn't look particularly special, so instead she turned her attention to the mask.

Behind the black rim where six straps that all connected into one solid piece at where the back of her head would be, the straps themselves where very stretch and she was worried the mask might be a bit loose. So she tried it on, the mask was very easy to fit over her head, the straps being as easy as she expected, but once it was on she felt a slight tightness around the straps, not uncomfortably so but it felt tight enough that it wouldn't come off very easily. And when she moved to take it off, it resisted at first, but once she had it slightly free the straps once again became incredibly easy to stretch.

"OK, this is pretty cool." It was much easier than her flight goggles, and much less likely to leave markings on her face once she was done with it. Having now finished with her inspection she turned her attention back to Ryley, who it looked like was applying some kind of cream(?) to a pair of holes in the suit. She hovered close to get a better look.

"Whats that for?" Ryley jumped a bit before sighing.

"Personal space please, and this is to make sure these holes don't chafe your wings, it needs to be tight but I imagine you don't want it to rub your wings off." Rainbowdash backed off, nodding emphatically as she watched the bright, pale cream swiftly darken until it matched the black of the suit, Ryley held onto it for a few moments longer before handing it back to her.

Now satisfied that the most important issue was sorted, Rainbowdash reached for the back zipper that she found at the neck and pulled it out before slipping inside the suit. It was tight fitting, a lot like her Wonderbolts flight suit, but not suffocating or restrictive, also like her flight suit, except this suit stopped at her neck, unlike her flight suit. It was also surprisingly comfy, and warm too, Rainbowdash was used to more extreme temperatures than most ponies but it was nice to not be cold for once in a while.

Zipping up the suit she found that Ryley had apparently cut a hole for her tail as well, which was a nice comfort. Her hooves where the weirdest parts, her fore hooves where completely uncovered while her rear hooves where now a lot larger thanks to the shoes, and very weirdly shaped, which threw of her gait when she tried a few test steps, and she resorted to once again hovering off the ground. Fortunately the holes for her wings where large enough and in the right places to not restrict them, though they where tighter than the ones on her flight suit, so she managed to once again hover in the air quite easily.

She ran her gaze over herself once more, it definitely reminded her of the flight suit, form fitting and streamlined, made for physical activity. Of course it didn't compare to her Wonderbolts uniform, it was a lot more drab for one, the orange being the only standout colour. "Wait drab? Colour? Who am I, Rarity?" Shaking those errant thoughts out of her head she turned back and picked up her mask and fins, placing the mask loosely over her head before struggling to try to attach the fins to her shoes, but she couldn't manage to keep them attached and after about a minute of useless effort she looked back up to Ryley, who was weirdly staring at the box with the red light on it. "Hey, little help here?"

That seemed to startle him out of it and he was quick to grasp her problem, quickly attaching the fins to her hooves, a sharp clicking sound accompanying them as they attached and this time stayed stuck, as a few test kicks soon proved. With that she nodded and finally attached the mask over her head, strapping it in place after which a bunch of weird symbols appeared in the lower left corner of her vision. "Hey whats with those circles?" There was a moment of silence before she glanced back at Ryley, who seemed to be staring at her. "Hey, buddy, I asked you a question."

That snapped him out of it, and he shook his head quickly before answering. "Uhh, right, that's you Heads Up Display, or HUD for short, it keeps track of your air, food, water and how healthy you are, useful for keeping track of things."

"Oh, cool... So which one is which?"

"The green is your air, orange your food, blue water, and red is healthy." She nodded as she looked down, trying to memorize them, it seemed easy enough, she almost missed his next question. "Uh by the way, how did you do that?"

She looked back at him confused. "Do what?"

"Use your wings, to attach the- you know what never mind, lets just get the last thing sorted then we can go for a test swim." Confusing half question ignored, he turned back around and this time pulled out a large rounded cylinder with two small black hoses attached. "This is your air tank, it'll attach to your back easily enough but I think I'll need to fix it to your mask, it doesn't hold much air but you can refill it by going back to the surface, or the base or the submarine." He said while walking over, Rainbowdash nodding eagerly as he prattled on.

"Yeah yeah just hurry up already, I want to try this out!" It took another minute or two, way too long for Rainbowdash, though Ryley said her squirming caused the most problem, but eventually he had attached the tank to her back and attached the two hoses to the nozzles on the front of her helmet. A few experimental shakes proved that it wouldn't fall off, and he finally stepped back.

"Alright, I think we're ready."

"Finally, lets go already, I've been cooped up here forever."

Ryley just chuckled as he stepped over to the hatch. "Okay okay, you go on ahead, I'll be right behind you." And with that he opened the hatch and Rainbowdash shot out once again into the strange alien ocean.

Ryley watched bemused as Raindowdash dived through the hatch. Before turning his attention back to the Radio. He faintly remembered the PDA telling him he had a new message just after the Sunbeam was shot down, but with everything that had happened since then he had forgotten all about it. "Probably another lifepod."

When he pushed the receive button, he got something he had never heard before. First a strange clicking sound, and then a voice, robotic but, stranger, spoke out. Not all of it was translated, but what was, well, Ryley certainly didn't like what he heard.

"▀▖┗▛Ten new biological subjects designated. Mode ▄▖▜▚┣: hunting/analyzing.
Sharing subject locations with other agents."

Author's Note:

So I might have missed my fortnightly deadline by just a little.

"Last update February 15th":trixieshiftright:

Okay by a lot, but hey! At least it wasn't six months, so that's an improvement right?

More seriously I don't have any particular reason, I just forgot to write this for a while, then I kept putting it off for later dates. This is why I didn't make a promise about that schedule, I knew I would eventually break it, I'm a terrible procrastinator. That said I do still aim for a minimum fortnightly schedule, however well that turns out to work, thank you for your patience.

Also for the original audio of that radio message.

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