“Um…what’s that huge one heading towards us.” O’Bien asked. A surprisingly sleek dark blue creature with splotchy stars of reds and browns was larger than their shark friend. It had a huge circular maw with razor-sharp cutters. The jaw screamed of power, as if it would never let go if it got a grip.
Zino stopped talking and looked. “Not good,” he said grimly. “The fliso’s not really headed for us, but it’s aiming to take a bite out of our shark. Hold on!”
Suddenly the engine started. Using stiff elements in the harness, the tube was now pushing the shark at high speed. The Fliso followed, eating up the distance.
“This one’s fast!” Zino said. “It’s not giving up, like they usually do.”
There was a thud, and the tube tipped and swayed as the fliso brushed alongside of it. Walsh pulled a knife out and freed himself from the restraints. He squeezed past people and pushed through the door to the Captain’s tiny cabin.
“Sir! You should be seated!” the shark Captain said.
“I have a non-lethal weapon on me, and experience. I’m a Captain for Earth.”
The Spitter Captain paused. “All right. Since you’re here, you can focus on shooting the fliso while I steer and maintain balance.”
Walsh looked around. “Where do I shoot from?”
“Unfortunately, the gunner port is at the back, where my regular safely assistant is, and the fliso is already up front. I’ve never seen one so fast and determined!”
There was a shot from the port and an enraged roar. Walsh spotted a ceiling port. “How does this open?”
“You’ll be in danger. We’ll all be in danger if water comes in.”
“I’m willing to risk my own safety. As long as you don’t submerge, I can be quick to close back up of there’s a big wave. Permission to open up and shoot?”
Their shark was screaming and straining, and the tube was rolling crazily.
“Go!” the Spitter Captain said. “I’ve released the catch. To come in and close if you need to, just pull it shut, it will seal.”
Walsh nodded, and, weapon ready, pushed open the hatch. If he hadn’t been trained so well, what he saw would have made him freeze. The fliso was mid-air, ready to take a bite out of the shark. Walsh shot, then shot again twice more in different locations. All three hit the beast, though two of them not exactly where intended. Distracted, the fliso left the shark and twisted in mid-air to turn on Walsh. The horrific thought of being swallowed whole by the thing struck Walsh as he froze for a microsecond. Would his shots stop it? he wondered. The speed of its lunge was terrifying, and it was bringing a large wave in its wake, so he mentally shook himself and aimed right into the maw, still with shock bullets, but right towards where a brain would be in an Earth creature. Then quick-as-a-blink-of-a-star, he popped back through the port and pulled it shut. A rivulet of water doused his head and rained down, but soon stopped. The question was, would the fliso?
Everyone was staring out a window as the thing did a mad twirl, around and around, screaming strangely. It was more like a giant worm than a shark or whale. It thrashed its five-stranded tail, which was full of holes from the safety assistant’s gunnery port efforts. Finally, it flopped into the sea with a great smack, sending a huge wave over the top of the tube that flipped them upside down. That was fine for everyone but Walsh, who was still unrestrained. He banged his previously damaged head on the ceiling as he rolled around. The shark wasn’t waiting around for the tube to be righted, he was heading like he’d been sucked through a black hole, away from the unconscious worm thing.
It took a long time for the tube to settle into a steady, smooth pace again. By the time it did, Walsh was unconscious.
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