Nivens, The Reluctant Deserter
As they walked the towering walkways to the loading dock, the floor rocked underfoot. Nivens muttered something about the gravity assists being offline as he followed.
Alice looked at him, “Gravity assists are for gaining momentum for space flight not for anything under water. What are you talking about?” But he just shook his head.
As they approached the hangar, men were jumping into the sub planes, some were already rolling down the runway that went straight into the water.
Alice poked Niven’s side saying,“Nivens, which plane is yours.”
Nivens jumped at her touch then glared at her and brushed off his side,“Ma’am, I am a medic.”
“I see.” Alice began walking to the nearest subplane.
Nivens blustered as he realized what she was doing. “I must protest. You don’t know how to operate a Glyder.” He actually sounded concerned for her.
“Is that what they’re called?” She kept walking and at the Glyder she stepped up on the wing and jumped into the cockpit.
The sight of the cockpit confounded her. There were some of the usual things like guidance and a handle for diving but the rest was completely alien to her.
Alice decided to ignore the alien elements for now and looked around. There was an extra seat behind her. As she settled in, she pondered a moment looking at Nivens, and then waved him up.
“No.” Fear evident in his face if not his voice.
“WhooOoooOoo!” A new alarm started. Nivens face paled.
Alice felt a grin tug at the corners of her mouth.”Let me guess, that’s the evacuation alarm.” His silence was a thousand words.
“Well, Nivens, it has been nice knowing you. Hope you find a way off this vessel.” She started pushing buttons to seal the glass like dome around her.
His face paled even more if that was possible. He cursed,”I knew I shouldn’t trust Merna. Stupid Goliath is just like the titanic. Say it’s unsinkable and the universe is against you!” He jumped and crawled up into the seat behind her just as the top began to rise up and over.
He whispered, “You know what you’re doing, right?”
She finished lowering the top and revved the engine and with a surge of confidence in her voice she said, “There hasn’t been a machine I couldn’t figure out…after a while.”
He moaned as she turned them to the runway and toward the water. Moments later they were hurtling down the column of water to the outside of the glowing blue vessel.
Water rushed by bubbling over the glass. Except it couldn’t be glass because at these depths and this thin it would crack. They would implode.
She sure had a lot of questions. Including everything in the box. About her mom and this ancient civilization. Merna talking about cities made more sense now. The people weren’t still alive, right? They would have found them centuries ago. There weren’t any secrets left on Earth that big, right?
The foreign tech in this glider said otherwise.
Ahead she saw the dark depths coming closer at the end of the tunnel. Then they were out.
A vast plain that reminded her of a chateau stretched out at length around them. The waving sea of glittering blue plants below gave a glow to the sea besides Goliath above them.
The majestic coral reefs she had seen almost didn’t compare the beauty before her. It mesmerized her – the flow, the vibrant glow.
Fingers entered her view and snapped, startling her. Nivens had leaned forward,”Stare too long and we’ll get nowhere. Get us out of here.”
“Nivens,” she pondered aloud, “my mom, Clara, her site was near here wasn’t it?” He nodded still up next to her and waved generally to the right.
“Now hurry, get me out of here!”
As they began to pick up speed, blue and purple with orange and green crackles exploded to light below them in the darkness.
The great lights sizzled on revealing a large plateau and the glowing blue Goliath still above them began to come down.
Men in tight diving suits were now crawling all over Goliath and looking to anchoring the monster to the plateau.
Far below on the plateau, men were drilling metal loops into the ground.
“How did they do that?”
“How did they get out of their subs, glyders, whatever and they’re wearing underwater gear?” Alice could see the open glyders feet away from the busy men.
Nivens smiled. His first real smile. “Wouldn’t you like to know.”
She rolled her eyes. “I thought you said we were leaving? Why are they latching Goliath to the Chateau?”
Nivens was silent.
The men continued their work below and that was when Alice saw the small scattered holes in craggy spots across the plateau. Why were suited men were pouring out of them?
Then she repeated her earlier question to the apparently dumbstruck Nivens. “Why would they be evacuating Goliath if they’re latching it down?”
He was silent. Then simply said,”They wouldn’t. Take me back.”