Thursday, March 17, 2011


by Grace Bridges -

Eleon McManus hauled on the ascent lever and threw his vehicle into reverse at the same time, then leapt to the comms unit on the other side of his cockpit and hit the emergency relay together with the tsunami warning button. If he felt the tremors out here in the sea, there could be danger for the land and settlement.

Alerts sent, he returned to steer his submersible. He had been moments away from committing to the docking maneuver when the sea had begun to shudder. Now at a safe distance, he throttled back from the reversing movement and waited to hear back from the harbourmaster.

Meanwhile, his ascent had continued and now the head of the sub broke the surface and a thousand droplets ran down the curved window. Eleon peered out at the harbour buildings, now too far away to make out any movement. He reached out and touched a control, and engines whined as the sub spun to face the open sea. If a wave was coming, he should face it for the greatest safety.

“Mac?” crackled from the speaker. “Reckon we felt that same time you did. All personnel now sealed inside our building, and they’re closing the watergate now.”

Eleon let out the breath he’d been holding. It might be an everyday occurrence in the life of every person on Eclectia, and a freight driver in particular, but he had long ago decided humans weren’t built to take the stresses of a violent seismic planet like this. But it’s not like they could up and leave—even its breathable air was a miracle in the unimaginable expanses of hostile, lifeless space. He was lucky to have secure quarters in the undersea city of Zirconia, built to withstand the greatest quakes.

He flicked a switch to take a little more water into the ballast tanks. On the outward journey still, he had no cargo for stabilisation. By now the rock valley leading to the settlement of miners and hunters would be sealed to a height of a hundred metres, the huge metal doors sliding out of their slots carved in the cliffs on each side.

His friends in Adagio would be okay. Eleon faced the oncoming wave and asked the whales to keep him safe.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, this is timely. A couple of weeks ago, people wouldn't have near the respect for a tsunami as they have now. Nice vignette.