She had been a beautiful ship: large yet sleek, majestic, and fast. The star of the fleet, she now lay crumpled, wedged between the twin peaks of a sea mound, every external fitting twisted or sheared completely off by the force of her passage through the dense, cold water as she plummeted downward. Crushed now, like a tin toy that had been trod upon at the foot of the stairs, she hung, motionless but for the dark blobs of toxic oil which seeped from her ruptured fuel tanks. One by one, the black balloons drifted upward with a clockwork regularity, the only motion that would have been visible, had there been any light.
Bob Fontain crashed against the forward bulkhead, shattering his left collar bone. He shouted his pain, fell to the floor of the CMO’s Office, just off the larger, multi-tabled examination room of the sick bay. Not so long ago, there had been an insane cacophony of flashing lights and blaring sirens, people shouting and running. He had not been one of those people, having been immobilized while the surgeon peered, like a probing Martian, under his knee-cap.
“I’ll be right back,” the surgeon had said, as a minor disturbance outside the sick bay had increased.
He had not come back before that section of the ship had been sealed.
Now, the anesthetic having worn off completely, or been knocked out of him, Bob Fontain sat, cradling his aching, disabled arm in utter still darkness.
Never one prone to panic, a trait reinforced by years of training and experience, rather than thrashing about in a disordered, futile attempt to flee his situation, Bob Fontain rested where floor met bulkhead. He sat motionless, in the dark, mentally seeking any sort of sensory input. All he sensed was density. The density of the metal shell surrounding him, the tenuous shield between him and the hellish density of the vast ocean outside. The emergency water-tight bulkheads were holding up just fine in his immediate area; there was not so much as a dripping sound, a sound he would almost have welcomed. No, there was nothing. Absolutely nothing.
Bob Fontain, resting on the floor of a ruined ship which, itself, rested on an imperfection of the ocean floor, held his breath for a moment. And however briefly, he lived in that one, single moment and thought, “I have experienced perfection.”