Our manuever drives barely operable, and our computer severely damaged in the battle with the escort gig, our ship plummeted downward through the atmosphere. I piloted her as best I could, but I knew we were in for a rough water landing. We were able to evacuate the entire crew, Turrina piloting the survey launch and Jeron the air/raft, prior to our touching down. Levi and I stayed with the ship, doing what we could to bring her down in one piece.
We started taking in water as soon as we landed. There was a hull breach somewhere in the aft fuel compartments. Levi did not have enough time to seal off the damge. The ship, tail heavy due to the weight of the drives, pointed mostly nose skyward as the water began filling the engineering area. The ship stabilized somewhat, but the water was choppy, causing the ship to bob. I hit the comm and called to Levi to check his status. He was making his way up the airlock into the commons area on the upper deck.
I could tell by the way I was being pushed back into my chair that the grav decking had failed. I detached myself from the pilot’s seat. The ship bobbed again and I fell backwards clumsily, slamming against the rear wall of the bridge, my feet tangled in the ladder to the dorsal cockpit airlock. The cockpit lights flickered sporatically. I could exit through the dorsal, but figured we would have plenty of time before the ship went under. I thumbed the adjacent airlock release instead. The door hummed a moment then when silent. The lights flickered again. We’re were losing the electrical system. I fumbled with the airlock’s mechanical release and after a couple tries was able to force the door open. I looked almost thirty-five feet straight down to see Levi standing on the wall of the galley looking up at me with a “what now” expression.
A rapping at the dorsal lock let me know that we would soon have help. I twisted the release and was greeted by Khang’s furry snout. He and Jeron had the air/raft hovering outside and were ready to help evacuate. Turrina in the survey launch was also nearby, awaiting instructions. I discussed the situation they saw outside with them and what Levi had seen in Engineering. Levi estimated we might have thirty minutes or so to move equipment out of the ship, and that would probably be the last chance we would have. Although they can be kept airtight, a starship at the bottom of the ocean is still a difficult thing to move – especially if you have no functioning drives. Underwater repair on the ocean floor without specialized gear would be next to impossible.
Over the next thirty minutes we salvaged what we could. Levi used a skyhopper from the EVA room below him to allow him to move up and down the length of the ship. We salvaged what medical supplies, food, and equipment we could. It was getting on towards dusk. We only had a couple of hours of daylight remaining. Turrina had determined that we were in the middle of an ocean, almost equidistant from three land masses – the polar cap to the south, and another mass each to the east and north. The smoke from the damaged gig shined pink in the evening gray sky, disappearing to the east. We would head north.
(see crew inventory for list of salvaged equipment)