After Elsie and the others had escaped from the crumbling Delta Base and had made their way to the beach, they heard the shots fired from the VS Jade 4, and they immediately feared for the safety of the ship. They had left the Rosanne at a relatively safe distance from the base in the event that something like this did indeed occur, and as they pushed their smaller boat out into the water, they heard Vandenberg mutter: “She is more resilient than they know. All they have done is given her a target.”
Mr. Adams started the motor and it buzzed and hummed as they took off over the water. Professor Goodwin turned his head and watched the VS Jade 4 from afar. “The Rosanne can get us close enough for the device to work. No matter what happens we must save that ship!” With the wind snapping at their clothes they made all haste towards the Rosanne, which was currently surfaced not far from their position – the platform was evident even from afar.
They pulled their boat up alongside the Rosanne and climbed a ladder onto the platform. From such a high vantage point they realised that the weather was swiftly turning. The wind had picked up and storm clouds were beginning to slide over the sky, turning the choppy waves to a dull and dismal grey. “It will be harder to see her when the water is like this,” Vandenberg explained.
“Come on,” said Professor Goodwin. “We have to get inside. It is only a matter of time before the monster attacks Captain O’Brien’s ship.”
“Actually,” Jack pointed out, “I think the ship belongs to Captain Sutherland. Captain O’Brien’s ship has already been destroyed.”
A concerned smile touched the professor’s lips. “The Jade, then.”
The map room was busier than usual. Professor Goodwin immediately pointed to Mr. Dunstan and ordered him to take the wheel. “Take us slowly to the VS Jade. The last thing we want to do is provoke the creature, but we have to get close enough for Vandenberg’s signal to reach. Do you think you can manage that?”
This was certainly one of Riley’s prouder moments and he leaned against the wheel. “I’m not the best pilot in Pearl Isle for nothing. I’ll get it done, sir.”
And then within the commotion Doctor O’Donnell appeared and she snarled at the sight of Vandenberg on their ship. Professor Goodwin promptly stepped between them. “Easy there Fiona. Stifle your hate; we have a monster to deal with and a ship to save. I doubt we can afford any distractions.”
Fiona checked herself. “Right, so anyway, we heard the shots from the VS Jade. What’s the plan?”
“Well,” the professor replied, “you’re not going to like it. I have instructed Mr. Dunstan to get as close as humanly possible to the creature. Given that it doesn’t kill us all first, we should be able to launch the signal and detonate the explosives in its brain.”
Slowly and deliberately Riley began to drive them through the darkened waters. Their eyes were fixed on the blue void for any sign of the VS Jade 4 or the colossal monster, but for a time they saw nothing – only small mountains of coral and valleys of sand below. A school of moonlight fish shimmered past and darted away like bullets when the submarine got too close. Still, the water was frighteningly unclear.
One of the men then reported that the Jade was in sight through the periscope and that they seemed entirely unharmed. “It hasn’t attacked them yet. Good, that means there is still time. Is there any sign of the creature?”
“No sir,” the man reported, and then, “Wait… good lord! It’s coming up behind us!” A heart retching metallic screech shook the VS Rosanne 7 from top to bottom and then the entire crew were staggered. Suddenly the lights went out and the crimson emergency lights returned, followed by a sounding alarm. The Rosanne ceased all movement, despite Riley’s attempts to get her going again, and then they all stopped in fright as the colossal giant spiralled past with silent animosity.
When it disappeared back into the haze of the ocean, only then did Jack speak. “Well so much for your plan, professor. We need to figure out what that thing just did to our ship.”
Just in time, one of the workers from the engine room stormed into the control room – his chest falling up and down. “The rear end of the sub has been penetrated, sir! I’m afraid we’re taking in water!”
Professor Goodwin stood up and his voice became loud and urgent. “Get the entire crew to their quarters and then seal all doors, starting with those in the back. Mr. Dunstan, surface the Rosanne right now! We’re evacuating the ship.” As soon as Riley set the Rosanne to ascend, they abandoned the main room and all of its luxuries and joined the others as they fled up the stairs. There were two men ushering people towards the hatch that lead up to the Rosanne’s surface platform, and from there, under the gathering of the clouds, they witnessed the VS Jade 4 in all of its majesty across the water. Between them and the ship, somewhere within the depths, lurked the monster that was by now entirely consumed in its lust for destruction.
For the first time Elsie observed the entirety of the Rosanne’s crew in one place, and with most of these people she had become great friends. Immediately the men took to preparing the lifeboats – they wanted to be gone before the ship sank – and while this happened there were other men performing a headcount. “Is there anyone missing?” Professor Goodwin demanded. Elsie’s eyes swept over the crew one more time, and then she was suddenly gripped with panic. Where was Tilly?
She stood on her toes and tried to look through the maze of startled sailors, however she simply could not find her. She asked one of the men who worked in the engine room, and he replied by saying that he swore he saw her leave, but in all the commotion there was no way to be sure. Naturally, Elsie panicked. “Tilly? Where are you? Oh God. Jack, Tilly must still be inside!” She stormed back towards the hatch. “I have to go find her!”
But Jack caught her arm. “Elsie, the Rosanne is completely flooded by now.”
Elsie wrenched her arm free. “She’s my friend, Jack, what else am I supposed to do?” And so, ignoring further pleas, Elsie jumped back down into the hatch, and into the sinking VS Rosanne 7.ns 126.96.36.199da2