Delta Base proved to be just another underwater facility. As they grew nearer and nearer to Charles Vandenberg’s current abode the crew of the Rosanne began to experience a chilling fear in the back of their minds that the monster was stalking them through the depths of the sea. Even among friends, when Tilly or Fiona managed a smile it was still tainted with this incurable doubt. For the final part of their journey, fear plagued the Rosanne.
One morning, the crew sat around the breakfast table for what would unknowingly be their final council together. For the most part, it was hardly even a proper council. Jack told a few jokes and Tanner graced them with a story of his favourite heist – of which Elsie was suspicious of a little exaggeration – and for a very short while the fear that had clung to the Rosanne like a bad smell had dissipated.
Unfortunately, however, their task was far from over. Professor Goodwin pointed out that when they confronted Charles Vandenberg in the base he would most likely be unstable, as he proved to be at their last encounter. “I suspect he may set a trap; after all, he knows that we are coming. That is why I propose that I go in there alone, at first, to ensure that it is safe.”
It was a noble gesture, however many people around the table did not agree, including Jack, who stood up and said, “That’s awfully nice of you professor but if it is going to be dangerous then I am coming with you. Trap or no, you’ll need my help.”
Elsie agreed. “I want to come too,” she declared. She knew that together, she and Jack would be impossible to stop, and she believed that the professor knew it too. He cursed, but agreed to let them come, but with the extra company he had Mr. Adams join them as well, for protection.
Suddenly Mr. Dunstan appeared from the control room and he was bearing urgent news. “Professor Goodwin, sir, there’s a military ship outside the base. She’s one of ours; the VS Jade 4.”
Goodwin stood up. “What? A military ship? What is it doing out here?” They accompanied Mr. Dunstan to the map room and he showed them the ship through the periscope. The VS Jade 4 was a larger ship than most other Victoria Ships, and because of its massive width, it very much resembled a barge. It moved slowly and sat low over the water, but most notably about it was the copious amount of weaponry located on the main deck.
“Professor,” said Riley. “Whoever these people are they appear to be expecting company. Shall I attempt to contact them?”
“Yes. Send a transmission.”
Riley moved over to the radio near the main wheel. He picked it up, turned a few nobs, and after a series of crackling static noises, he started talking. “VS Jade 4 this is the VS Rosanne 7, can you read me? Over.” There was no reply, so he tried again. “VS Jade 4 this is the VS Rosanne 7, do you read? Over.”
“This is Captain Sutherland of the VS Jade 4. We’re surprised to see you so far from home, Rosanne. I am afraid this area is currently restricted to military vessels.”
“No wait,” said Riley, quickly. “I’m here to warn you of a serious threat to your vessel. You have to get as far away from here as possible.”
“I would say the same to you, sir,” replied the voice. “The Rosanne is listed as a research vessel. You have no business in military affairs. Furthermore, the matter is of upmost severity and confidentiality…”
Suddenly another voice took over the transmission. “This is Captain O’Brien formerly of the VS Falcon…”
“The Falcon,” Riley exclaimed. “I thought that vessel was reported as one of Vandenberg’s victims?” Professor Goodwin had to add in that they would have no clue as to who Vandenberg was. “Oh… right.”
“Listen,” Captain O’Brien continued. “I don’t know who Vandenberg is, but I was the only survivor from the attack on my ship. There’s been a hell of a lot of speculation as to what has been causing these disappearances, but trust me, you wouldn’t believe me if I told you the truth.”
Then Professor Goodwin took over the transmission on his side. “Captain O’Brien?” he said. “My name is Professor Robert Goodwin from the University of Victoria City. I am technically the commanding officer on the Rosanne. Let me tell you that I will believe whatever it is you have to say because we’ve seen it ourselves. In fact, we’ve spent the past few months pursuing the monster.”
“Really?” O’Brien replied. “Listen, I don’t really know of or care about what that thing was, but it took out my ship and killed my entire crew. Whatever it is, we unloaded some serious firepower into it and it didn’t seem to feel a thing. We’ve managed to track it to this location, but we don’t exactly know any clear way to bring it down. Surely if you have been pursuing the creature then you must know of some weakness it has.”
“Actually captain that is exactly why we are here. He have a kill switch designed to eliminate the specimen, however we need to get close to it for the device to work. My team are already working on a plan. I understand it isn’t my place to make demands of the military, however I urge you to stay back and let us settle this. If we can help it all those guns you have shouldn’t be necessary.”
“The military has an obligation to attack this thing on sight, professor. I already have reinforcements on the way and our scouts are scouring this region of the ocean. Whatever this plan of yours is, I suggest you get it done fast. One thing is for sure, I will not let that thing destroy another ship.”
Professor Goodwin nodded. “Understood, captain.” He turned to Elsie and Jack. “We had best get going.” They entered Delta Base not knowing what they should expect.ns22.214.171.124da2