Operation Aquarius

As part of my boatschooling, I was assigned some creative writing. This is what I came up with.

5532 meters under the sea lies the Aquarius undersea base, also known as the International Sea Station (ISS 2.0). Aboard are about 100 people from around the world, three families, and a load of submarines, ranging from the size of a fingernail to an airliner.

Everyone is doing their regular jobs; kids studying, scientists sciencing, commanders commanding, and engineers engineering. A perfectly normal day, until the loud boom. It wasn't actually that loud, but it was for the crew members of the ISS.

The kids heard clearly, while a few others heard it a bit less clearly. Since the base command tower is in the middle, Bob, the 53 year old Jamaican commander, was unaware until all the kids came rushing in. They all started talking at once: “there was a loud–the BOOM was not that loud–yeah but still” “everybody STOP!” said Bob, “Alysi, what exactly happened?” he says as he rushes over to the screen with the cameras. “We all heard a faint boom and rushed up here as soon as possible”   Alysi explained as their teacher enters the room, panting.”Which direction did it come from?” Bob asks. “I don't know” Trestin, Salpha, Alysi, and James, respond all at once. Soon the scientists from the southern end came rushing in, doing the exact same thing as the kids. 

“Found it!” exclaims Bob, “no, No, NO!”. “What is it?” says practically everybody in the room. “The O2 generator” says Trestin, as he had somehow slipped through the crowd and looked at the screen, “well, it's pretty much Apollo 13 all over again, except this time with negative altitude”. A few people laugh sarcastically at his dark humor, but most simply ignore him. “Yeah well your negative attitude combined with our negative attitude is gonna kill us all”, responds Alysi. “Alright everybody, let's get back to our stations before we kill ourselves dueling. I‘ll let you know what the plan is after I have discussed it with the second in command”, declares Bob,”oh! and try to stay calm”. To most people “try to stay calm” are a madman's words (especially when you are at risk of asphyxiation) but to the members of the ISS  this means that they need to try to conserve oxygen by staying calm and breathing a bit less rapidly.

Soon everybody was back to their regular jobs, kids studying, scientist sciencing, commanders commanding, and engineers engineering. But it was no longer a normal day.

Everybody was waiting for the announcement that would save them. Everybody was hoping that they would get to be the hero. Everybody was hoping that the gym would reopen.The ones that weren't in the command tower, they were very, very well informed about what happened by their friends that were. 

Soon Bob declared over the intercom that he and some of his fellow engineers would go in a sub to scope out the issue while everyone else was to continue their regular tasks.

When he left, the kids were there to say bye, as they had already finished their homework. They watched him board and depart. As soon as they were out of sight Trestin and Alysi dashed away to the cabins. Salpha, despite being the most recent to join the ISS, had found some shortcuts and realized where they were going, and was able to follow Trestin and Alysi. When she followed them inside Trestin’s cabin (after a good amount of convincing) she saw that they had his TV plugged into his laptop.

Trestin quickly turned it on, then opened an application labeled camerave. Once on the application, he selected three different devices: Bobby cam, Bobby bug, and Sub cam. They had set up cameras so that everyone could know if something had gone wrong! She would later realize that this was not actually the reason why. Soon they could hear and see everything that was happening to Bob. They learned that he had found a gap, that he had made it through to the next “level” as Trestin called it. As soon as they learned that he was stuck and needed a sub to look through a small gap, but didn’t know how small it needed to be to make it inside, Trestin took his laptop from the table and sent the link for “Bobby cam” to Bob and his sub crew via their version of messages named “Marine Messaging”. 

They soon heard Bob and his companions chuckle and curse, saying “you tech Trestin! I know you can hear me and if you don’t respond about where you hid it so I can shove it in the hole I will be angry at you!!”. Trestin then plugs a microphone into the laptop and presses the “unmute” button. “For the record, Alysi hid it, and I did the rest, so you should really Marine Message her” Tristan says through the camera. Bob responds, “aaaand… What are the odds that she is with you along with James and Salpha?” “Fine,” admits Trestin, smirking. He hands the microphone over to Alysi, who says, “check your neck”. One of the few places that’s invisible to you when in a suit, your neck. Bob grumbles a bit about kids outsmarting engineers as he reaches up to grab the small camera. All they could see after that was the hole getting bigger and bigger until it engulfed the view from the camera. They could faintly see a sharp corner at the end, that could potentially lead to the generator. “We don’t have any drones that would work for that” explains Bob. “Well”, Trestin starts, “I could put a propeller on a snake drone and send it out on a cargo drone”. Bob responds, “go for it”.

 The three of them rush to the robolab, one of the largest parts of the base, it has large cargo drones for carrying stuff outside, base carrier drones for carrying stuff around inside, snake drones that are small exploration drones, and regular exploration drones. There are many others but these are just a few. Trestin starts ordering them around, “Alysi, grab me a 500 RPM motor and a two millimeter prop. Salpha, you grab two red snakes, and one blue.” He says as he picks up a base carrier drone and sends it off to another part of the base. He clears out a workbench and grabs three pop out control fins and mounts them on the blue snake as well as the propeller and the motor. He grabs a cargo drone with a dropout bay underneath and puts the blue snake in. The base carrier drone he had sent off before now arrives with a big red box inside. Salpha and Alysi gasp, “explosives!”, They exclaim. “Oooh”, they say. Trestin was making explosive snakes to make the hole bigger! Once complete, he puts the red snakes in the red box and puts it inside the cargo drone. He also asks Salpha to grab a bigger and more capable exploration drone, putting that in the cargo drone too. He seals it up and puts it in the air lock, as Alysi grabs a remote and rushes to the control tower. Salpha and Trestin soon follow. 

Bob asks for status and Trestin responds with, “Alysi is sending the cargo drone out. Once it arrives, it will drop four drones and four remotes. The blue remote will control the blue snake, the red ones will control the red snakes and the yellow will control the yellow exploration bot. The red and yellow drones are in the back of the cargo drone.” Bob replies, “why the red and yellow drones?—oh” he says as he looks inside the cargo drone and sees the big red box, “how did you get it?”. “I may have hacked one of the base carrier drones” replies Trestin with a mildly suggestive tone. 

They can now see everything that’s happening (this time legally) from the control tower screens. Soon they see a small flash, followed by another a bit later, through the tower’s 360 windows. Bob soon requests a few more explosive snakes. Trestin tells Alysi to get a drone to send a load of explosives to the robolab and Salpha to grab some cargo bays, wind up propellers and nosecones.

Trestin and Salpha rush down again. Trestin grabs a massive cargo drone and assembles some explosive drones as Salpha puts them in the cargo drone as they come. Alysi takes command of the cargo drone from the command tower and sends it out. Soon, more booms resonate throughout the base and more people rush to the control tower. Alysi quickly says over the intercom, “everything is fine, we are exploding a path to the generator”. Trestin and Salpha soon come up again.

 Bob says that “we built it too well”, the anti explosive metal was resisting the explosives (as it should) leaving only “a kid size hole”, as Bob called it. Salpha quickly responds, “kid size, you said it was kid sized”. Bob hesitates before responding, “ask your parents”. 

Alysi calls the biggest base carrier drone, Salpha climbs in the back, while Trestin and Alysi climb into the sides. The drone lifts into the ducts above, and whisks them away to the engineer’s workshops, where their parents all worked. The parents all gathered, and discussed the matter thoroughly, “they might as well try”, one of them said. In the end they did say yes,  hesitantly though and said that James, Salpha’s lazy big brother, should be informed. The drone soon took them back to the control tower to look at base cameras to see where James was, his cabin, playing video games on his laptop. As usual. They intercommed him with the speakers in his cabin, and laughed hysterically as he leapt into the air from sheer terror. Then he said, “of course I will come!”, slightly offended. They met him at the submarine bay where they suited up partially and grabbed some materials to take in the sub. Trestin quickly raced off to the robolab to grab some parts and made a robot that came with them. Once aboard, the sub raced off towards the Bob’s sub at full speed. 

Bob greeted them from outside, “welcome to ground zero”. Looking at the wreckage, James went green, “I, I, I think I, I might stay, you know just to supervise, if you get what I mean”. “You mean you’re an underwater chicken”, Salpha replies. “N,n, no I just want to be the backup in case you, you mess up”. “Yeah right” says Trestin as he assembles a drone with underwater boosters, and power tools. “Alright! Let’s suit up” declares Alysi, as she puts on her fishbowl helmet, and her titanium exoskeleton. Trestin and Salpha soon join the skeleton fishbowl club as well. 

The airlock opens and they all emerge with giant reinforced fishbowls on their heads. They use their boosters to propel themselves to the generator, and go through the first hole, then the second. When they made it through to the generator, they noticed that it worked, it was making bubbles! This wouldn’t be so hard after all!  But when they looked up and saw that the roof was slowly rising from all the collecting bubbles, they decided to do this as quickly as possible. “Okay, all we need to do is connect it to the rest of the system. Looks like there was probably a clog in the pipe making the pressure rise and explode. The base end is there and the generator end is there, Salpha, can you go get some tubing?” “Sure” Alysi grabs a hacksaw and starts cutting the jagged part of the base end, while Trestin does the other one with an angle grinder.

Salpha comes back with the pipe and they cut it to size, mount it, and pack up. 

On the way out, after they shove the tools inside the drone they had brought, and had confirmed with Bob that the O2 was online, a large piece of metal plating falls on Trestin. He starts to push up on it but can’t. He was stuck! “Help” he called to Alysi, who came back and grabbed an angle grinder and tried to cut at it. The blade was not sharp enough to make more than a scratch. Instead, they attached all of their boosters to the ends of the piece and turned them on. Slowly, the piece began to rise, soon Trestin was pulled out and they turned off the boosters. They then left and went back to the sub. But when the airlock slowly started to drain, Trestin's leg started to hurt more and more. When he stepped out into the inside, he collapsed from the pain. Salpha said “ he must have broken his leg!” Alysi tells the pilot to get back as soon as possible.

When they get back they load him into a base carrier drone and send him to the med bay.

“There”, the doctor says, “that it’ll take a few days to fully recover”. “I should have done my side of the cutting quicker!” Trestin exclaims, “otherwise the bubbles wouldnt have time to make the piece fall!”

The next day, the party began. There was cake, and even beer (for the grownups, obviously)! 

When the kids were told to have the first slices, James stepped up first, thinking that they had meant him. Bob told him that he was going last, after all the grown ups, everybody started laughing. And he stormed away to his room to play video games.

 The end!