“Sam? Get them off of us, now!” I yelled from the bridge. The iisadsu were not afraid of Ma-rye-a. They had attacked the ship as soon as she entered the level of the atmosphere that the iisadsu inhabited. I didn’t think they could do much damage, but I was in a pissy mood. It was as though they had expected us.
What they didn’t expect was Sam’s electrical pulse coming through Ma-rye-a’s outer hull. When he fired their stunned bodies were blown off her like shooflies off a bug zapper. That action kept the rest at bay until we landed. There were a horde of them. The sky was full of the winged beings circling over Ma-rye-a like so many vultures over a carcass, but we weren’t dead yet. Not by a long shot.
“Ma-rye-a, now that we are down can you locate Attalla?” I asked.
“He is approximately 50 yards in front of us and 100 feet down,” she replied without hesitation.
I looked out the viewport in front of us. All I could see was a slip of the sandy beach and then the ocean.
“He’s underwater?” I asked in disbelief over the den of the iisadsu as they hammered on the hull with their makeshift weapons.
“Yes,” Ma-rye-a replied evenly. “I detect an underwater cave. He is still alive, though his pulse is a bit irregular,” she continued.
“Underwater?” I asked again, even though I had heard her the first time. “100 feet?” I didn’t have any scuba gear aboard. How was I going to get to him? How would I get him back to the surface?
I was trying to think my way through the problem when I heard, “3su?”
“Attalla?” I answered back. “Are you all right?”
“A bit damaged, but still alive thanks to Tt’i.” Attalla spoke in my head. “Do you know where I am?”
“Ma-rye-a says you are about 100 feet underwater directly in front of us. We are on the beach. I had to bring Ma-rye-a down. Sam is going to remotely retrieve the pod.” I automatically took a breath even though I was thinking rather than speaking. “I have no way of getting to you. Can you make it to the surface?”
“Tt’i is with me. I can get him to bring me if you can run interference to keep the iisadsu at bay.”
“Consider it done,” I confirmed. “They’re already having second thoughts about messing with Ma-rye-a. We’ll give them more to think about before you crest.”
There was a void in my mind as I felt Attalla leave me. A few moments later he was back.
“We’re coming up,” he announced. “See you in a few minutes.”
“Sam, get ready to lay cover fire for Attalla. He’s on his way up,” I ordered. “I don’t want any of those iisadsu getting to him.”
I ran to my cabin and pulled my blaster from the holder by the door. I was shouting orders as I ran to the escape hatch strapping my blaster on.
“Ma-rye-a retrieve the pod. Horus, help her if you can. Carrie get Attalla’s room ready, raise the temp and warm the blankets.” As an afterthought I spoke to Moby. “Moby?”
“I’m whipping up a nice warming soup and some of the Ambassador’s favorite herb biscuits,” Moby piped in.
“Good man,” I complimented him.
I went into Attalla’s room as I passed to check on Chee. She was still asleep and oblivious to the activity around her. I was thankful that Attalla left her in my care. He surely would have lost her in whatever event had taken him down 100 feet underwater.
I pressed the panel release by the side escape hatch. “Ma-rye-a?”
“He is within 20 feet of the surface,” she updated me.
“Sam, cover me. I’m going out the south hatch.” I threw my legs over the sill and dropped to the sandy beach below.