Vertiline Warde, Skin-Diver, latched the spear gun into rack of the two-man submersible, affectionately called Cogling by the crew. Dr. Giles B. Sullivan III hovered by her elbow, crowding her. Truly, the man was practically breathing in her ear.
“Mind yer gauges, Doc,” Vee snapped. “We’re underway in just a tick.”
“Yes, but my dear Miss Warde,” he began, twisting his lily-white teacher’s hands, “are you certain all that weaponry will be necessary? Surely there will be none down here that wish –“
“Ain’t just cog-glitter, Doc,” Vee said. “In case it’s escaped yer notice, there’s the like of a less human sort of encounter. I don’t fancy myself runnin’ up against ‘nother grab-happy squid. And some of the GearS.H.A.R.K.S. are said to still be operatin’.”
“My dear Miss Warde, that’s simply not possible. How would they continue to fuel themselves? The war is long since over. If you look at this rationally -”
“Believe what ye will, Doc. I don’t aim to be tryin’ to rationalize with a couple thousand stone’s worth of angry gearbox,” Vee said, slamming the hatch down on the sub. She gave him a pointed look that quite clearly said she was reaching the end of her patience.
“Ye still on muh boat?” the Captain bellowed down into the wet porch. “Thought ye was long since vapor ‘n steam!”
“Aye, Captain,” Vee returned. “Just easin’ the Doc’s mind on the importance of carryin’ munitions below th’ blue. Launch in ten.” Vee set her Chronometer, her cobalt blue eyes daring the professor to contradict her. Wise man, he turned away and began the tedious necessity of checking his ‘spiro. He was slow about the work and Vee impatiently turned to help him after she got her own mouth-piece set. Annoying as the man was, she’d no wish to have the man bolted and volted.
“We’ll go face-clean while th’ Cogling’s still sailin’. Best if I can still natter with ye, long as maybe. Gets too narrow down th’ chasm a bit, I’ll eject us. When ye hear me sayin’ ‘Eject! Eject! Eject!’ ye get yer mouthpiece in place, and I’ll be blowin’ the lid for us to get divin’.”
“Should I acknowledge that? Say ‘Copy that’ or something?” Sullivan twisted his mouthpiece nervously and Vee took it from his tense fingers and locked it into place. Cits had no business in the deep, truly they did not.
“Ye say so much as ‘huh?’ and ye’re breathin’ the blue, Doc.”