Tagger’s craft quickly faded back into the black while Thom went about waking his sub—and himself—the rest of the way up. The cockpit illumination rose enough to make visible all the non-backlit switches and toggles. The engines made their presence even more known. Satisfied that everything looked correct, Thom edged the throttle forward and he was gently pushed back into his seat. Aside from the motion on his screen, that gentle force was the only indication he was moving forward. Outside, through the panoramic viewscreen, everything was still black.
He pulled back on the stick, and watched the depth bleed away. After a few moments, the sub passed an invisible layer, and everything started to get brighter. More objects started appearing on the central display. Then even more. He nosed off his ascent, made a minor course correction, and throttled up even more. The sub shuttered against the strain of the engines. A school of fish darted past him, reminding him to reel in his net with the tug of a lever near his left knee. He felt the engines strain against the pull.
And then the main console display was taken over by a new sight: at the top of the screen, a single, enormous white-green blob stretched from one side to the other, crawling slowly down the display, consuming smaller blobs as it moved. Soon it occupied the entire top half of the screen. Thom throttled back.
It was hard to make out at first, just water against water. Then, a darker area in an otherwise uniform ocean. From the blacker than black, details began to emerge. Then there it was, stretching as far as the eye could see in either direction: the citysub Universalis.
Thom aimed for the keel and soon the larger ship towered over him. Its oblong form bulged in the middle, and as the small fishing sub neared the hull, it entered the ship’s gigantic shadow, bathing the cockpit in darkness again. Above him, two parallel rows of amber lights blinked along the hull, leading him towards a glowing opening near the bottom of the larger sub. The lights turned red as he approached and Thom throttled his sub to a stop. He keyed the comm.
“Fishing Sub 2439 requesting docking and offload at bay 224.”
“Request granted, 2439. Have a good nap, Thom?”