Oceans

ODeepHab Eleven
Eastern Abyssal
Gulf of Antareä
Eliéra

The incoming voice rattled scratchily from the speaker. “Benthic Needle, we have you on our magnetograph now. Confirm your position.”

“Inertial guidance shows us eight-eleven porisedt from sonar target, relative bearing zero-eight-five, station-keeping against current. Request calibration reading on relative depth, DeepHab.”

Ping! Ping! Ping! Ping! Ping!

“Benthic Needle, we show your relative depth as two porisedt above our datum, with a three degree for’ard pitch.”

“Thanks, DeepHab. Retrimming.”

Water gurgled into the trim tanks as the pilot adjusted the controls.

Ping! Ping! Ping! Ping! Ping!

“We’re ready for terminal guidance, DeepHab. Advisory: we have negative, repeat negative, visual capability.”

“Proceed on heading zero-six-zero for eleven-one porisedt to intercept final vector, Benthic Needle, activate high-resolution targeting sonar, and hold; descend six porisedt to four below datum relative for moon pool access. Map follows.”

A burst of data-noise later, the proposed course mapped itself out in blue-green trigraphics on the inside of the minisub’s blank steel cupola.

“Executing, DeepHab.”

Ping! Ping! Ping! Ping! Ping!

“Say, Benthic Needle, out of curiosity, why does the Spaceflight Initiative want you guys to practice blind docking anyway?”

“No mystery, DeepHab. The Needle’s shipping out to Isimír next year. There’s no light down in its subcrustal ocean, so we’re learning to operate without it.”

“There’s no light down here, either, Needle, but we do have lights.”

“Yeah, but there’s never been any light down in Isimír’s ocean. If there’s any life down there, it’d be rude to go lightin’ the place up before we find out if it’ll poison the locals.”

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