This story is about characters of a ship from the Patchwork Universe. A Captain chasing a sea worm. I hope you all enjoy it and please leave feedback. Picture taken from free stock images website.
“Drain the catching bay, Ari!”
“Ey, ey, Captain Farrago.”
As the winch recoiled the metal net, the draining system opened in the floor and the water escaped. With his one good eye, Farrago looked over the balcony at the giant worm like beast that writhed in pain, its body covered in nodules that all moved independently. The catching bay easily housed the 30-foot creature. He moved around the balcony to the head of the giant worm, the closer he got he could see that it had no eyes, but it had what resembled a mouth that kept opening and closing, but no sound came out. The metal netting held it firmly in place on the catching bay floor.
“Cerso, prep it for cryogenic stasis, I want to be back on Tellus Six before Earth Day.”
“Ey, ey, Captain.”
Farrago placed his hand on his chest plate on his jacket and activated his coms for the entire ship.
“Each of you came aboard my ship for your own reasons. Be it money, for escape and some just for the adventure. You have all served me well and we have caught the beast as you can see. I know our employers will be incredibly pleased with this catch and they will pay us a handsomely for it. So, let’s get ready for our journey…”
Farrago’s speech was cut short by the alarm that sounded and the amber lights that flashed above his head. His crew ran to their stations ready for evasive maneuvers, but he just placed his hands on the balcony rail and stood firm as the ship rattled as it was hit. As the ship settled Farrago moved quickly to the stairwell that led to the deck.
“Sorry Captain, it came from out of the blue!”
“So, Driff, what was it? I don’t see it on the radar.”
“It was about 40-foot, Captain. Nothing then boom it was there.”
Farrago hit another button on his chest plate which activated his cybernetic eye, as he looked out of the deck window and surveyed the waters. His vision zoomed in and out across the stormy waves, then he stopped as something broke the water line.
“Check port side about 800 meters!”
“Ey, ey, Captain!”
Farrago watched the radar screen as Driff messed with the console, a red dot appeared and moved closer to the ship, it showed the object to be 40-foot long and it was fast. Driff flicked switches on the console that activated the set of lights that covered the ship. The object that headed towards them broke the water line again. Farrago took another look he saw the mouth of a beast, he zoomed in closer it was another worm as he saw it open and close like the one in the catching bay. He reached for his chest plate and activated his coms.
“Ari, has the beast in the bay been prepared for stasis?”
“We are ready Captain.”
“Well make it so, we may be doubling our catch.”
“Ok, I will prep the rods and the net. How big is this one, Captain?”
“40 foot, Ari. It will be a tight fit, but the prize will be worth it.”
“Ey, ey. Captain.”
Farrago saw two dots appear on the radar, then a third. He looked out across the water line, nothing on the port side or starboard side. Another dot appeared then they all disappeared. He then turned and headed off the deck.
“I am going below, Driff, you have the deck.”
Farrago entered the catching bay and saw that the giant worm still writhed in some kind of agony, but no sound came from its open mouth. The tail end of the worm that hung out of the net began to open, a blue liquid poured out and down the vents. Farrago moved around the balcony, he then noticed something wriggled free from the giant worm. The alarm rang and then the ship shook violently again. Farrago watched as one of his crew fell over the balcony and hit the catching bay floor hard. He then grabbed a chain from the winch and lowered it down to the fallen man.
“Take hold of this, Ritti. Hurry!”
Farrago watched Ritti haul his large frame up off the floor and walked towards the chain. More blue liquid came out of the giant worm, the stench made Ritti gag and then he vomited onto the floor.
“Move it, Ritti.”
As Ritti reached for the chain he slipped on the blue liquid and fell to the floor. Farrago saw something move in the liquid. Ritti pushed himself up but then he screamed in pain and rolled over onto his back. Farrago saw the horrific sight of a small version of the giant worm, that burrowed into the gut of Ritti, blood spurted from his mouth; he screamed then fell silent. His blood and the liquid that surrounded him turned purple. Farrago’s chest plate lit up as the voice of Driff came over the coms.
“Captain, we have a big problem.”
“We have 30-foot one down here too! Driff.”
“We have a 50-foot one approaching! Captain.”
Farrago ran up to Ari who sat at the catching bay computer terminal and pulled him up from the chair. Ari didn’t move or say anything as he knew it was not wise to mess with the Captain. Farrago hit the console switches and lowered the rods and the metal net.
“How close is the worm, Driff?”
“400 meters and closing, Captain!”
Farrago counted 5 seconds then activated the rods, the screen showed the water around the ship was electrified, a counter ran down from ten to zero. But the giant worm in the waves crashed into the hull of the ship repeatedly.
“Captain, more worms approach, the hull shield is at 45 percent, we won’t survive them. Permission to take off?”
“Driff, make it so!”
Farrago knew the ship couldn’t handle another attack and with the size of these worms they would rip open the hull. He retracted the rods and winched in the net, as the ship pulled out of the water. Ari sat back down as Farrago headed for the stairwell to the ship’s deck. As he ran around the balcony the ship tipped to the port side and he hit the wall and stumbled as it corrected itself. It was then hit again and tipped to the starboard side. He fell backwards over the rails and into the catching bay. He hit the floor hard and could feel the blue liquid in his mouth and up his nose, the taste and smell made him gag, but he held the vomit back. Next to him lay the body of his fallen crew member, but as he pushed himself up, he saw the chest rise and fall, but he was dead.
Something was alive in Ritti’s body; Farrago could not take his eyes of it as a worm crawled out of the stomach. He clambered to his feet and to the chain that hung over the balcony. Farrago climbed the chain, but the tail of the giant worm caught him and knocked him to the floor. As he pushed himself up, the small worm attached to his arm and ripped open his flesh. The more he struggled the more the worm tightened its hold around his arm. Farrago screamed in agony as it shattered the bones in his arm, as the worm increased in size, he began to feel faint. As he staggered to the chain the ship tipped again, he collapsed onto the body of his fallen crew member. The worm began to change, and the newly formed nodules cut through his flesh. Farrago watched in horror as his mangled blood-soaked arm hit the floor. Another worm appeared from behind the giant worm and fed on the blood that spilled from his missing limb. Farrago watched it grow to twice its size, as he staggered wearily backward he slipped on the blue liquid and he hit the floor hard. As he lay there, he felt the darkness and coldness pull him under, into unconsciousness. Then he heard a voice pull him back.
“Captain, stay with us, we are coming down to you!”
Farrago saw Ari’s slender face, he looked horrified by the site of the mangled arm. Another crew man approached wielding a metal harpoon that he swiped in the direction the baby worms, as Ari injected a needle into the torn flesh, Farrago felt the pain ease.
“The other worms are pulling us down, Captain. We can’t take much more. We need to do something!”
“I.. have… an… idea!”
“Always knew you would, Captain. What is it?”
“Collect the small worms and dump the big one, that will buy us the time we need!”
Farrago was hoisted up to the rails, but the ship shook again and again under the attack. He turned to see his crew had grabbed the three smaller worms and put them into stasis, the giant worm opened its mouth as if it screamed in silence. Farrago activated his coms.
“Driff, give the engines all they have got. Now!”
He could sense the engines were at full power, but this was the only shot they had. Farrago signalled to Ari and as the catching bay doors opened, they watched the worm as hit the murky waves and disappeared into the depths. The ship then pulled away and climbed into the sky. Farrago looked at the three small worms frozen in stasis and smiled.