Continued From Previous Report
The first aqua-sting missiles rushed from their launch tubes on Varnim’s sub-aquatic battle-cruiser.
The explosions shook the undersea landscape as a great jagged piece was cut out of one of the huge shell-like structures that formed the city of Pacifica.
Inside the city, the emergency horns began to sound, echoing their urgent warning along the passages of the palace and through the city streets.
Marina was still in the marketplace when the first strike came. She spun on the spot to see what had happened and her long green hair whipped around and fell behind her.
A cloud of smoke and debris was rising from the perimeter of the city into the ocean above. At the same moment she heard the sound of the emergency horns and her eyes widened. She took to her heels, running with all her speed back towards the palace.
But although she moved swiftly, she was not afraid. Marina had known danger most of her adult life. She knew exactly what she had to do.
While any other undersea city would have been a cacophony of screams and shouts of confusion in the circumstances, the people of Pacifica moved with deliberate and measured haste, and without a single cry of panic. The civilians made their way hurriedly to the deep shelters, located far underneath the solid rock of the sea bed.
On the bridge of his battle-cruiser, Varnim barked another order, “Attack their inner perimeter – Fire at will!”
Another powerful missile shot away from the malevolent manta-shaped vessel. It clipped the edge of a cluster of smaller coral buildings near the centre of the city and exploded.
The force shook the nearby palace, causing Marina to stagger as she raced towards the throne room. She threw open the doors and in an instant she was by her father’s side.
Aphony gestured swiftly to the captain of his guards, who saluted and left on the double.
Marina waited impatiently for her father’s next order, but when it was communicated into her mind, she revolted from it immediately.
He wanted her to flee. That is not what had been arranged. Long ago, after a particularly fierce attack by Titan’s forces, Marina had promised her father that if Pacifica was ever threatened again, she would join the Royal Guard in defending the city to buy time for the population to escape to safety.
Marina shook her head defiantly, willing her father to understand. But Aphony’s thoughts insisted upon her consciousness. He forbade her from joining the battle.
Angrily she turned and ran from the room, heading in the direction of the shelters. However, she had no intention of going anywhere near them. Instead, she turned down a corridor towards the communication centre.
She was in luck, the room was not being used. She had guessed that much when she saw the officer in charge of communications heading in the opposite direction, likely carrying a report to her father.
Marina had learned much from Phones during her time on Stingray and it didn’t take her long to adjust the frequency controls on the long range hydrophone. Then, as fast as she dared, she began to tap a message on the jewelled transmitter pad set into the coral control desk.
In Marineville’s control tower, Lieutenant Atlanta Shore turned to her father, “I’m receiving a coded message on channel WXN-G7W, Commander.”
Commander Shore swivelled his hover-chair away from the window as he replied, “Say, that’s Pacifica’s communication channel. What does it say? Marina’s not missing us already, is she?”
“I’ll run it through the decoder now,” Atlanta replied, flicking a series of switches on her communication equipment to translate the sequence of strange undersea sounds that served as Pacifica’s audio transmission.
“Commander!” Atlanta exclaimed urgently, “Pacifica reports they’re under attack by an enemy battle-cruiser!”
“Great Neptune!” Shore exclaimed, “Get Troy Tempest up here on the double!”
“But Stingray’s overhaul isn’t finished yet, Father!”
“I’m well aware of that, Lieutenant! This won’t be a mission for Stingray, but by thunder we’re going to get help to Pacifica or my name’s not Samuel Shore!”
TO BE CONTINUED…
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