A thunderous cacophony of alerts and sirens blared throughout the confines of the vessel. The metal twisted and contorted, puncturing the ears of the crew. A cry could be heard from the ship’s bridge, an automatic alert system spoke out, “Depth level has been compromised. Hull integrity dropping substantially.”
Coming to his senses, the navigator awoke, stumbling out of his cot. A golden locket lay around his neck, jingling as he proceeded to the bridge. He grasped at his eye to be met with blood when he looked back. With determination, he climbed his way onto the console and began checking the diagnostics.
“Just my luck,” he stated. Reaching under the desk he had been met with a challenge, the receiver was malfunctioning. With respite, he remained at the mainframe, cluttered with memories of long-forgotten people.
The alert system rang out, “Fifty-four minutes until hull integrity is lost.”
The navigator peered over at the depth gage, to which it read: “Thirteen thousand three hundred five meters.” He sprinted over to the exterior camera sensors of the ship and observed. There was a submarine outfitted with the name “Saraqael”, submerged and shearing apart just a few hundred meters below the navigator. In a melancholic rage, he pounded his fists against the glass and then suffered a panic attack.
A sudden, but the distant explosion was heard from throughout the ships’ halls. Water caved in through a breach adjacent to the navigator, petrifying him even more. The vessel automatically closed the bulkhead from which the flood was entering.
Comprehending the outcomes at hand, he stood up and then fell into the wall. He ascended back to the computer and began to send out the distress signal. Flares were fired through the top of the ship, although didn’t make it very far. The debrief below the vessel interjected the navigator’s thoughts of what he had to do. He paused, trembling. Desperately, he decided to set the vessel to ascend.
Tens of hundreds of warnings bombarded the interface, “Fuel level critical in left reserve. Oxygen level dropping. Debrief damage to the right wing.”
The navigator discovered that the depth gauge wasn’t being affected enough to allow for an escape from the depths. He tapped on the monitor, added all of the excess fuel to the right fuel reserve, and prepared for manual separation. As he tapped the interface for the action to occur, an eruption occurred in the left fuel reserve, propelling the ship upwards rapidly. The navigator was launched up into the ceiling of the vessel as the way of water was affected by the explosion.
Gradually, the vessel climbed its way up the depth gauge and was now at five thousand nine hundred seventy-five meters. Communications hailings buzzed through the interface, “Azrael?! Azrael are you there?! We’ve been trying to reach you, but you’ve been out of range from our detectors! We’ve pinpointed your coordinates and are on our way to you, hang in there okay?”
The system of the ship stated, “Error… Oxygen levels compromised.”
As Azrael remained collapsed, a silky texture was felt in his mouth. The taste of blood and metal overcame him as he lay there. With difficulty, he made his way up against the wall once more and crawled with it to the medical cabinets. Reaching inside, he collected some bandages as well as an oxygen mask. Urgently he replaced his bandages and equipped the mask.
Returning to the console he spoke out to his friends. “How far are you?”
“We’re a few thousand meters, out. How fast are you ascending?”
“About a hundred meters per second.”
“Okay… what is your hull looking like?”
“Thirteen percent and dwindling.”
“How long has your ship been affected?”
“I’m not quite sure… when I woke up because of the ship’s alert system it said it would be almost an hour until the ship caves in.”
“How much time is left…?”
“I’ve got about twenty-six minutes now.”
“We’ll be there.” The communication goes to static.
Breathing heavily, Azrael got up and made his way to his cabin to collect some of his equipment. Amidst it all, he had come across a drawer full of letters, some of them letters he had written but never could send out. Across all of them, the initials ‘I.L.” had been italicized at the top. Azrael lay next to his bedside holding onto the letters in one hand, the other holding the golden locket.
There was little time left. He stuffed the letters as well as a few other belongings into his pack and attached them to his side. The vessel rocked back and forth violently as the hull shrieked out. Azrael could smell smoke seeping in from under the bulkhead, knowing that soon the door wouldn’t hold. Explosions made the movements of the ship difficult to withstand.
The metal around the bottom of the bulkhead bent forward, making water gush through the gap. Azrael returned to the mainframe and hailed for his friends, to only be met with static. With no options, Azrael proceeded to the outfitting chamber and equipped his dive suit, his flippers, and his oxygen tank.
With his equipment, he climbed up to the access hatch and began to twist the valve. As much as he struggled, the valve wasn’t turning. A sudden rocking made Azrael trip off the ladder and fall back. Getting back on his feet, he grabbed a fire-axe and entered the observatory. Upon entering, Azrael was met with a glimpse of the Saraqael in the distance, slowly fading as he continued upwards. Azrael then used the axe on one of the maintenance hatch’s frames, attempting to peel off the frame. Every swing drained his energy furthermore, what felt like five minutes now felt like an hour of work attempting to open the hatch.
The water swept Azrael into the glass as he was attempting to open the hatch. Looking behind him, a wave had destroyed the computer room behind him. Azrael felt as if the waves glared down at him as they approached the observatory. In a final hope, with all of his might he had left, Azrael threw the axe into the center of the hatch, creating a hole in the frame. The glass then shattered and Azrael was pulled through the current of the ocean, shooting upwards as his vessel slowly fell behind him. Azrael’s vessel became flooded and its ability to ascend was gone.
Cast astray in the vast emptiness and abyss before him, Azrael kept swimming upwards as the current pulled him as well. He began checking his equipment as the current tossed him around. His oxygen tank was missing. Azrael began to panic when he turned to his depth gauge. Quickly the oxygen dissipated from his veil, making him reach into his bag, to which he found another oxygen mask. With relief, he attempted to grab the mask, and then all of the letters he had flew out of his pack, falling deeper into the ocean. Summoning everything he had left in himself, he swam out of the current and down to grab the letters. He had made his way to them and then began to choke. There was no air left in his veil. Clenching onto the letters, he stuffed them into his pouch and then rapidly began to switch his mask for the other. As he replaced his veil, his heart slowed and he gasped for air. There was nothing left. Azrael wasn’t breathing.
His body spiraled in place as the blackness of the ocean was victorious.
Josh Hiatt is a writer from all over the United States, due to being a part of a military family. He spends time watching anime, and playing games and aspires to write many works of fiction. Follow him on Twitter @iiShadow_0.