DOWNWARD SPIRAL - A Subnautica Story

scifiwriterguyscifiwriterguy Sector ZZ-9-Plural Z-α Join Date: 2017-02-14 Member: 227901Members Posts: 758 Advanced user
Downward Spiral
A Subnautica story by Scifiwriterguy

Chapter 1, Part I

Hollister, Michael P.
Employee No. J-H8261827
Space Operations Division
Current Assignment: Captain, ASV Aurora


"Captain on deck!"

"As you were," Hollister says, walking briskly across the open-floorplan bridge. He notes that none of the crew manning stations had moved to get up on his entrance; if they had, it would've been a disciplinary note, no matter how much of a hurry he's in. Watchstanders have more to concentrate on than jumping to their feet every time someone with brass on his neck walks through the door, even if people like that pedantic pissant Yu didn't understand why.

In the center of the bridge, with a commanding view of both the local-sensor holo map in the lower-forward position and the viewpanels dominating the walls, his on-duty pilot team was working with uncommon speed. During the average cruise, pilots only have real work to do at departure and arrival, with a long stretch of nothing mid-flight.

Of course, this isn't an average cruise, he reflects.

Hollister makes for his navigator, Hideki Ishimura. Only a year out of Fleet training, but still one of Alterra's top interstellar navigators. That's why he's sitting on the bridge of the Aurora and not in some cushy job in Alterra Central back in Gilese.

"Ishi? What's the news, son?" Hollister asks as he approaches the nav station. Hideki doesn't look up.

"Approach to 4546B is currently nominal, sir. We're beginning the roll and pitch to orient for the maneuver." Outside, the luminous crescent of 4546B's sunlit side is rotating slowly counterclockwise as the Aurora spins on her long axis to point her belly at the planet.

"How long to gravity interface?"

Hideki glances at one of his wing monitors before answering.

"We'll be at the correct boost angle in two minutes, fifteen seconds...mark." In addition to rolling, Aurora is also yaw-thrusting, pointing her nose to skim the planet. When the right angle comes up, the pilots hit the main engines and shove the ship forward so that the massive ship rolls around the planet's gravity well, shifting her onto a new course for the next leg of her journey; at the moment, the ship is still in its original plotted vector, aimed at the planet rather than alongside it.

"Good," Hollister says before walking away. Despite the relative difficulty of the upcoming maneuver, navigation isn't his main concern. Instead, he heads for a nearby instrument cluster staffed by three crew.

"Any contacts?" Hollister asks the trio as he steps up to them.

"Sir, currently holding no contacts of any kind," the senior sensor technician, some overeager pup named Reenberg, replies.

"Nothing in our transit path?"

"No sir, no contacts or reflections."

"Scanning the planet?"

"Yes, sir, full-spectrum. Sensor efficiency is degraded but I don't have any firm contacts."

"Degraded?"

"Yes, sir. 4546B seems to be a waterworld, and the water scatter is throwing off the fine targeting. Astrogation should be notified; they have the planet marked as partly terrestrial."

"Fine, notify them. After the maneuver. In the meantime, all three of you keep up active scanning on the planet and the orbital path, and you let me know if you detect anything."

"Yes, sir."

Straightening, Hollister looks through the viewpanels. The glowing, sunlit atmosphere of 4546B has rotated about halfway down the panels. Despite being mostly cargo space and blessed with some of the most powerful thrusters ever to come out of an engine lab, a ship as big as the Aurora can't maneuver very quickly; that much mass resists changes in its inertia.

"Optimal boost angle in one minute twenty...mark," Ishi's voice announces to the bridge from its cluster of displays.

"Very good," Hollister says to nobody in particular. He's getting worried now. To everybody else on the bridge, this is a semi-ordinary maneuver which he's decided to make more interesting by being a busybody and bothering the sensor team. But the sealed orders the command crew received just before departure make this another matter entirely, and one which isn't panning out correctly.

Sensors should see something by now.

"What's that?"

Hollister spins on his heel, bulling his way to the sensor station.

"What?"

"Not sure, sir," Reenberg says, "Energy signature below, from the planet. Can't quite figure it out."

"Explain! Don't make me keep asking."

"It's a powerful signal, sir, but we can't localize it. It's a weird signature. I haven't seen anything like it before."

"Amplitude increasing exponentially," one of the subordinate techs says.

"Optimal angle in one minute...mark," Ishi says from halfway across the bridge.

"Power spike! It's going off the chart, sir!" the junior tech yells. Reenberg seems frozen.

Hollister's wrist flies toward his face, the bandmic keying automatically to the ship's 1MC announcement circuit.

"XO to the bridge on the double!" he shouts, his voice echoing in every corner of the ship's crew spaces.

"Sir!" the sensor tech screams. His gear has passed through the top of its range and is now showing Signal Off warnings - the energy reading below has exceeded the system's ability to understand.

"Sound collision!" Hollister yells to the bridge crew, and moments later the sound no spacer wants to hear begins: the rising-and-falling wail of the collision alarm. The one veteran spacers call "Death's Alarm Clock."

"Incoming!" The warning comes from the third-rate sensor tech, the one scanning in optical/IR. Although she can't make out what her telescopes are showing, it's bright, getting brighter, and unmistakably headed for her.

"Brace for impact!" Hollister screams over the 1MC.


If you want to see Part II, let me know. All comments welcome. :)
The poor mesmer. Beautiful fish. Too bad it's named after a jerk.
Post edited by scifiwriterguy on
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Comments

  • 0x6A72320x6A7232 US Join Date: 2016-10-06 Member: 222906Members Posts: 3,977 Advanced user
    edited April 4
    If you want to see Part II, let me know. All comments welcome. :)

    No rush. Just finished the first part as I touched down...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k7k9_xuJG8c
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  • SnailsAttackSnailsAttack Join Date: 2017-02-09 Member: 227749Members Posts: 341 Advanced user
    "Captain on deck!"

    "As you were," Hollister says, walking briskly across the open-floorplan bridge. He notes that none of the crew manning stations had moved to get up on his entrance; if they had, it would've been a disciplinary note, no matter how much of a hurry he's in. Watchstanders have more to concentrate on than jumping to their feet every time someone with brass on his neck walks through the door, even if people like that pedantic pissant Yu didn't understand why.
    It's not a bad story, but the grammar is really bad/confusing? Sometimes its hard to tell if you're speaking in present or past tense.

    You also kinda go out of your way to use excessively obscure vocabulary such as "pedantic and pissant", which i think mean something close to "perfectionist" and "worthless". Neither of them really work well or make sense in that situation though?

    I've bolded the parts with bad grammar/grammar I don't understand.
    "We'll be at the correct boost angle in two minutes, fifteen seconds...mark."

    There's just a lot of parts like this that don't make sense. This is a single quote where the character speaking jumps from two minutes to fifteen seconds to done.
    CalvinTheDivercrypticc62Jamezorg
  • SkopeSkope Wouldn't you like to know ;) Join Date: 2016-06-07 Member: 218212Members Posts: 954 Advanced user

    "Comms, sound abandon ship. Abandon ship," Hollister repeats so there will be no confusion.

    Yes sir!

    https://soundcloud.com/subnautica/abandon-ship
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  • 0x6A72320x6A7232 US Join Date: 2016-10-06 Member: 222906Members Posts: 3,977 Advanced user
    @Bugzapper have you seen this one yet? Thought you might enjoy it.
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  • SkopeSkope Wouldn't you like to know ;) Join Date: 2016-06-07 Member: 218212Members Posts: 954 Advanced user
    3t074amq2hi7.jpg
    Deceased leader of the UCR
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    the_mariner0x6A7232
  • scifiwriterguyscifiwriterguy Sector ZZ-9-Plural Z-α Join Date: 2017-02-14 Member: 227901Members Posts: 758 Advanced user
    Fear not, little bumpasaur; Part III will be coming up shortly. :)
    The poor mesmer. Beautiful fish. Too bad it's named after a jerk.
    0x6A7232
  • SkopeSkope Wouldn't you like to know ;) Join Date: 2016-06-07 Member: 218212Members Posts: 954 Advanced user
    Fear not, little bumpasaur; Part III will be coming up shortly. :)

    bu4kpn2ncico.gif
    Deceased leader of the UCR
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    Maker of positive comments
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    I still have no idea what's going on
    0x6A7232
  • SkopeSkope Wouldn't you like to know ;) Join Date: 2016-06-07 Member: 218212Members Posts: 954 Advanced user
    edited April 15
    Wow, this is an interesting plot. Another person survived with Scuba Steve. I really like it. :)

    I wonder if they meet at any time. I assume not, but that would be an interesting conversation.

    Steve: So... you're alive...

    Hollister: Yeah...

    Steve: ...

    Hollister: ...

    Steve: Do you, uh, want some fish?...
    Deceased leader of the UCR
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    Author of Subnautica fan stories (Dawning has finally begun!)
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  • scifiwriterguyscifiwriterguy Sector ZZ-9-Plural Z-α Join Date: 2017-02-14 Member: 227901Members Posts: 758 Advanced user
    Skope wrote: »
    Wow, this is an interesting plot. Another person survived with Scuba Steve. I really like it. :)
    I wonder if they meet at any time. I assume not, but that would be an interesting conversation.
    Steve: So... you're alive...
    Hollister: Yeah...
    Steve: ...
    Hollister: ...
    Steve: Do you, uh, want some fish?...

    Not giving anything away at this stage, but I wouldn't count on that particular event happening. ;)

    Part IV is coming. :grin:
    The poor mesmer. Beautiful fish. Too bad it's named after a jerk.
  • 0x6A72320x6A7232 US Join Date: 2016-10-06 Member: 222906Members Posts: 3,977 Advanced user
    I'm waiting for more info on Keen. Pretty sure I know how Hollister is ending up. Just not sure what the backstory is as to why he doesn't make his way off the ship (well, besides all bay doors either being above sea level, below it, and/or damaged. Still should be able to fab up a MVB, SeaGlide, request some raw materials, and find a way out. So I imagine there's a reason.
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  • the_marinerthe_mariner US of A Join Date: 2016-12-29 Member: 225653Members Posts: 125 Advanced user
    0x6A7232 wrote: »
    I'm waiting for more info on Keen. Pretty sure I know how Hollister is ending up. Just not sure what the backstory is as to why he doesn't make his way off the ship (well, besides all bay doors either being above sea level, below it, and/or damaged. Still should be able to fab up a MVB, SeaGlide, request some raw materials, and find a way out. So I imagine there's a reason.
    My headcanon was that Hollister was trapped on the Aurora and couldn't make it off before the drive core went boom. As for Keen:
    The wiki says that him and CTO Yu met up on the Floater Island. Yu apparently died later on while looking for more survivors, but no mention of what happened to Keen. However, as this information is unconfirmed, I'd take it with a grain of salt.
    I had drifted o’er seas without ending,
    Under sinister grey-clouded skies
    That the many-fork’d lightning is rending,
    That resound with hysterical cries;
    With the moans of invisible daemons that out of the green waters rise.
    - H.P. Lovecraft
    0x6A7232ShuttleBug
  • ShuttleBugShuttleBug USA Join Date: 2017-03-15 Member: 228943Members Posts: 428 Advanced user
    edited April 17
    Hollister has to be the luckiest man alive. I mean he was basically got some minor injuries after the crash and he wasn't even buckeled in.

    Lifepod 5 guy is still luckier than Hollister by landing in the most safe and providing place in the ocean. Just saying
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  • 0x6A72320x6A7232 US Join Date: 2016-10-06 Member: 222906Members Posts: 3,977 Advanced user
    ShuttleBug wrote: »
    Hollister has to be the luckiest man alive. I mean he was basically got some minor injuries after the crash and he wasn't even buckeled in.

    Lifepod 5 guy is still luckier than Hollister by landing in the most safe and providing place in the ocean. Just saying

    I suppose it's like how people can (rarely) survive falling from airliners at up to 10KM / 33,000 feet (well, anything high enough to get you to terminal velocity and I don't think it matters how high you are)
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  • ShuttleBugShuttleBug USA Join Date: 2017-03-15 Member: 228943Members Posts: 428 Advanced user
    0x6A7232 wrote: »
    ShuttleBug wrote: »
    Hollister has to be the luckiest man alive. I mean he was basically got some minor injuries after the crash and he wasn't even buckeled in.

    Lifepod 5 guy is still luckier than Hollister by landing in the most safe and providing place in the ocean. Just saying

    I suppose it's like how people can (rarely) survive falling from airliners at up to 10KM / 33,000 feet (well, anything high enough to get you to terminal velocity and I don't think it matters how high you are)

    True. Still feel bad for the guy who landed over the bloodkelp though :'(
    We secure. We contain. We protect.
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  • TarkannenTarkannen North Carolina Join Date: 2016-08-15 Member: 221304Members Posts: 634 Advanced user
    edited April 20
    Wow, this was a terrific read! Everything presented in game was covered in the story, and we have more 'backstory' regarding Captain Hollister and his fate. Here we have a noble man, who tried his best to save his ship and crew, and worked his damn hardest to overcome the odds and try to make things right. I'd be happy to serve under his command, and I hope that maybe, just maybe, there is more to his story before the dark matter drives failed. :smiley:

    Kudos on such a terrific story, I hope to see more like it later on! :love:
    0x6A7232 wrote: »
    ShuttleBug wrote: »
    Hollister has to be the luckiest man alive. I mean he was basically got some minor injuries after the crash and he wasn't even buckeled in.

    Lifepod 5 guy is still luckier than Hollister by landing in the most safe and providing place in the ocean. Just saying

    I suppose it's like how people can (rarely) survive falling from airliners at up to 10KM / 33,000 feet (well, anything high enough to get you to terminal velocity and I don't think it matters how high you are)

    This looks like a job for: GAME THEORY! Okay no wait, hear me out! The theory that MatPat proposes is one of my all-time favorite videos of his: Surviving the Assassin's Creed Leap of Faith. Despite fixing some minor errors with annotations, his video covers extreme falls and how some people have actually survived them! Also of note, is that landing in water from an extreme height is just as bad as if you were to land on concrete...

    MatPat: "You heard right: WATER. Surprisingly, the surface tension between water molecules makes the impact just as hard and inflexible as concrete. Except when you hit concrete, your newly crippled body ISN'T forced to swim to safety." :dizzy:

    It makes crash landing from a starship's lifepod seem far more harrowing than the introduction sequence would indicate... At least our guy was safely strapped into his seat; the worst he seems to suffer from is just a concussion, and not a full-body crushing. :flushed:
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  • VesperVesper North, to Alaska! Join Date: 2016-01-21 Member: 211748Members Posts: 21 Advanced user
    This is a great concept and very much keeping with the lore. Personally I love the jargon and unusual vocabulary. And here I thought I was the only one using pissant as an insult.
    "Let us not attribute to malice and cruelty what may be referred to less criminal motives. Do we not often afflict others undesignedly, and, from mere carelessness, neglect to relieve distress?"

    Jane West
    scifiwriterguy0x6A7232
  • JamezorgJamezorg United Kingdom Join Date: 2016-05-15 Member: 216788Members Posts: 937 Advanced user
    I'm on the edge of my seat. This is one of the best Subnautica story concepts yet, and I can't wait to read more :)
    I am currently writing a fantasy novel which I plan to be the beginning of a six-seven book series.
    To sate my thirst for people to read my stories, however, I write one on the forums in the meantime: FE . DC .
    the_marinerscifiwriterguyTarkannen
  • SkopeSkope Wouldn't you like to know ;) Join Date: 2016-06-07 Member: 218212Members Posts: 954 Advanced user
    Something tells me if this story follows the game's natural sequence of events, Hollister is going to get a very rude wake-up call, very soon. ;)
    Deceased leader of the UCR
    Subnautica Veteran (yet still scared of the Reaper Leviathan)
    Maker of positive comments
    Author of Subnautica fan stories (Dawning has finally begun!)
    I still have no idea what's going on
    0x6A7232TarkannenShuttleBug
  • TarkannenTarkannen North Carolina Join Date: 2016-08-15 Member: 221304Members Posts: 634 Advanced user
    Great story, bravissimo! Truly a great read, and so far a great insight into 'what really happened' with Captain Hollister, as well as the rest of the crew. I also love how his response towards certain issues:

    "So, Hollister shifts to Plan B: swim over and find the survivor. It's not far, and there's no such thing as sea monsters."

    match what the average Subnautica player likely experienced the first time they played the game (and made friends with the Reaper Leviathan...) :wink:

    I can't wait to see what happens next! Keep up the great work, @scifiwriterguy, you're doing a great job! :blush:
    Like my avatar? She's Jane, she's cute and she's awesome! She comes from the webcomic Nerf NOW!! created by Jo Pereira, and you should go check it out right NOW!!
    scifiwriterguy0x6A7232ShuttleBug
  • SkopeSkope Wouldn't you like to know ;) Join Date: 2016-06-07 Member: 218212Members Posts: 954 Advanced user
    zhmpaedbea29.jpg
    Deceased leader of the UCR
    Subnautica Veteran (yet still scared of the Reaper Leviathan)
    Maker of positive comments
    Author of Subnautica fan stories (Dawning has finally begun!)
    I still have no idea what's going on
    scifiwriterguyTarkannenShuttleBug
  • TarkannenTarkannen North Carolina Join Date: 2016-08-15 Member: 221304Members Posts: 634 Advanced user
    Awesome read, very enjoyable as usual! I love how the story works within the established lore, but offers more insight into what happened. But what I really enjoy also are the scientific explanations regarding the world-building, such as tidbits with the Aurora's hull composition and what really is powering the "dark matter drive core", hehe. :blush: The running gag of the Alterra's questionable decision of 'hearty survivor cuisine' and lighthearted jabs at the PDA logs are very amusing as well. I'm curious, is the 224536 - Ready (WARN: Nonstandard Software Detected) Engineering drone the same one that was modified by an engineer to be "treated like a regular crewman" for fun?
    Aurora Engineering Drone - User Log (Excerpt)
    CTO: 'The sensors are fine. I made some tweaks to the language interface. Try treating it like a regular crewmember.'
    Berkeley: 'Drone, you suck. I know it's not your fault, but please take this thing off me, and bring me back a propulsion cannon. Thanks for your time.' :lol:

    Anyways, I'm eager to see how things continue to unfold with the awesome Captain Hollister! @scifiwriterguy, you have a wonderful talent for writing such interesting stories - keep up the awesome work! :love:
    Like my avatar? She's Jane, she's cute and she's awesome! She comes from the webcomic Nerf NOW!! created by Jo Pereira, and you should go check it out right NOW!!
    0x6A7232ShuttleBug
  • 0x6A72320x6A7232 US Join Date: 2016-10-06 Member: 222906Members Posts: 3,977 Advanced user
    edited May 8
    Tarkannen wrote: »
    Awesome read, very enjoyable as usual! I love how the story works within the established lore, but offers more insight into what happened. But what I really enjoy also are the scientific explanations regarding the world-building, such as tidbits with the Aurora's hull composition and what really is powering the "dark matter drive core", hehe. :blush: The running gag of the Alterra's questionable decision of 'hearty survivor cuisine' and lighthearted jabs at the PDA logs are very amusing as well. I'm curious, is the 224536 - Ready (WARN: Nonstandard Software Detected) Engineering drone the same one that was modified by an engineer to be "treated like a regular crewman" for fun?
    Aurora Engineering Drone - User Log (Excerpt)
    CTO: 'The sensors are fine. I made some tweaks to the language interface. Try treating it like a regular crewmember.'
    Berkeley: 'Drone, you suck. I know it's not your fault, but please take this thing off me, and bring me back a propulsion cannon. Thanks for your time.' :lol:

    Anyways, I'm eager to see how things continue to unfold with the awesome Captain Hollister! @scifiwriterguy, you have a wonderful talent for writing such interesting stories - keep up the awesome work! :love:

    Well spotted, I hadn't thought of that as a possible explanation for 224536's non-standard software warning.
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  • nesrak1nesrak1 Places Join Date: 2016-12-04 Member: 224536Members Posts: 289 Advanced user
    edited May 9
    Tarkannen wrote: »
    I'm curious, is the 224536 - Ready (WARN: Nonstandard Software Detected) Engineering drone the same one that was modified by an engineer to be "treated like a regular crewman" for fun?
    Edit: read sci's post on p2
    Post edited by nesrak1 on
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