Log:Array Consortium: Tripping the Rift, Part Two: THERE'S SOMETHING ON THE HULL!
Ancient Corellian sailors had a song that they sing in times of duress; a song of hope, a song of bravery. A song that instills courage in the weakest of hearts.
This is not that song. It is, however, what Adhar Gann mutters constantly under his breath as he brings the ship up to speed under the water; behind him, the glorious worm begins to glow brightly, brighter even than the storms of light that swirl within its comb-like 'wings'. "Kriffkriffkriifkriff--Mandl! Forget the guns, just keep the sensors calibrated! We're gonna have a real hard time getting this ship in once piece if we have to fly through the rocks /and/ deal with that thing!"
Mandl holds breath. Cracks knuckles. Just ... like ... drillinggg...
Mandl releases one more salvo with the turret, green bolts firing wildly, before hurriedly unstrapping itself. "Yes Adhar, sensors. Back online. Is best." It scurries for the ladder, Bith-faced flush with embarrassment.
"Sensors!" Adhar trains the lights forward; the ship swims with it, and the beams of the spotlights rake the seafloor as the Voidhome surges forward. From behind, a bright surge of blue-white light illuminates the cockpit, and the ship suddenly lurches to the right.
"Krif," Adhar bellows yet another time; around you, the lights flicker and the hum of the engines along the hull sputters for a moment. "What was /that/?"
Mandl's answer is accompanied by a burst of sparks and a puff of noxious smoke! "If the sensors come up before the engines, I can tell you!"
Mandl exhales, grateful. "Auxilliary sensors coming online... now."
Oh, what a wonderful moment they're having! As the engines remain on, Adhar punches the ascension controls to force the ship into a steep climb; behind you, another bright surge of light flares behind, and the drives sputter harder. This time, the Voidhome lists hard to the left, climbing but with one engine apparently having gone out.
"I am not gonna die in a swimming pool," Adhar snarls to himself. "What IS that out there?"
Mandl says, "The creature's electrostatic field can be directed?! Fish with ion-cannon!"
"/WHAT?/" Adhar shuts his eyes tight for just a moment, cursing his luck, as he kicks the drives in hard and steers for the surface. "This is getting better every moment - hang on, Mandl, this is really gonna be rough!"
Adhar is useless in a lot of situations, but behind the yoke of a starship isn't one of them. As another blast of light comes closing in, the Corellian banks and yaws he avoids the next shot easily. "Angle the deflectors to face him, double-arc," he instructs, bringing the ship around and down again; he jumps out of the pilot's seat and charges toward the stairs. "Keep her level! I'm going to see what I can do to get this bastard out of there."
Mandl says, "Deflectors angled! Headed down!"
Mandl engages in, doubtless, more 'Three Stooges'-esque comedy between ladders and stairs on a tumbling ship, slithering past Adhar to land remorsefully in the pilot's seat! Level! Level Mandl can do!
"That's great," Adhar roars as he makes it to the lounge, running for all he's worth - he drops through the hatch between the cabins into the gunwell of the ship's single turret.
"All right," he calls over the comms as his hands fly over switches and grasp the gunnery controls; beneath him, he can see the monstrous sea creature through the turret's transparisteel dome, glowing like a woken pagan idol, its many-jawed mouth crackling with a building electricity. "Firing!"
Beneath his feet, the cannon whines mutedly in the water, delivering a brilliant green lance of energy somewhere into the creature's torso. It shudders, the patterns on its 'wings' taking on new shapes, a new urgency, and its mouth glows bright as it belches forth another blast.
This time, the sphere of eldrtich, blue-white plasma sails clear of the ship, owing to its change of course and its sudden assault on the creature's person.
Mandl asks: "Can we make atmosphere? Is there a navy on this accursed planet?!"
Below, another blast strikes the monster as Adhar handles the turret like a champ; he is in his element here, and thought the ship's laser turret is fairly weak, he makes up for that with targeting. Problem is, of course that he isn't an exozoologist, and he has zero idea what this thing's weakesses are - so when he gets a bolt down its throat and the lights sputter out, he thinks he's got a win. For a moment.
Then the worm launches itself upward on its vast 'wings', alive with murderous color, and Ahdar knows they're in /real/ trouble.
"Suns below," he bellows, "It's coming up after us! Climb, Mandl, climb!"
Mandl yanks the yoke up! Up! And awaaa-aaa-- let's hope that Mon Calamari-designed thrusters are more responsive and efficient than the evolutionary forces that designed Jimmy Cthulhu junior, down there!
The boat sails upward, nearing the water - and breaks the surface, rattling the ship, but not harming it. The sunlight fills the cockpit, the sky rolls high and beautiful above, and you are free the sail away...
Until a great crunch sounds from aft quarter, the whole ship jerks hard to port, and above the whining of the gun turret Adhar's awed voice can be heard through the comm circuit: "It jumped up and bit us," he whispers softly. "It jumped up and /bit/ us! SUNS BELOW!"
Mandl's carefree sail into the sun's brilliant protective light is swiftly aborted, and klaxons and alarms fill the cockpit with ear-numbing speed!
Alarms aplenty are going off: hull integrity, repulsor overload, the engines screaming as they suddenly find another several hundred tons or so of weight pulling down against them - and more importantly, there's something /pulling you down toward the surface/. Regardless of what Mandl does, the ship is still being drawn seaward - slowly, but irreistably, pulled toward watery doom.
Meanwhile, Adhar is blasting away at the thing with the ship's turret, trying to saw off its head. He's making a few good hits, but nothing like what he wants to. Yet.
Mandl flicks switches, mashes buttons, *anything...* "Can we fire escape-pods? Choke it?"
Really, it's graceful, this horror that clings to the Voidhome's hull; were the scene not in the air over the sea, one could take a holophoto of the scene, and perhaps believe that the monstrous thing had bitten into some vast exotic whale. But it is not a whale, the Voidhome - it is a ship, a ship filled with to /very/ nervous males, and one of them is about to hit a button that will change both their lives.
Mandl has fired off the port escape pod.
With a great whoosh and firing of rockets, a blister on the port aft section of the ship separates, and - through some quirk of fate - draws a long tongue of rocket exhaust across the sea-beast's horrible head. A sound like something that might come from the synth kit of an extremely overzealous amateur industrial musician fills the air, echoing through the hull, and as Adhar watches incredulously from the turret the monster releases the ship and falls snapping its jaws the entire way down into the Kalarban seas once more.
"Mandl," Adhar bellows over the comm, "We're clear! Set a course for Kalarba City and get us out of here!"
Meanwhile, a nearby mountainside comes in sudden, explosive contact with an errant lifeboat. There are no survivors.
Mandl complies. "Course laid in. Let's ... choose to tell a different story when we are home, yes?"
"...We will never speak of this again," Adhar agrees, leaning back hard against the gunwell seat. "Suns /below/."
Thus does the Voidhome go off to Kalarba city, to get repairs on some inexplicable 'mechanical failure'. Naturally, nobody will ask questions. They're paid not to.