Water rushed into the airlock as the outer door opened. Carl double-checked his tether. "Alright...Taking off." He took slow even breaths. No matter how many times he'd been on a dive he still got the butterflies. He swallowed to fight growing nausea.
"Carl, hey, buddy, keep on talking to me. How's it look?" Jake asked.
"Dark." Carl clicked his light on. "Yeah...Dark. I...see the...problem." He spoke between half-gasped breaths. What would happen if the air tether was cut? How long would he last? He groaned. Looking back, he traced the length of the tether with his light. It was fine. There was nothing around for it to catch on. In front of him the wall was damaged in a way he'd never seen before. Like it'd been both hit from the outer and inner sides at the same time.
"You're not talking, Carl. I need you to keep talking or else I get worried about you, I don't like worrying. Do you see where the meteor hit?"
"That's...I do, but...it doesn't...look hit. Looks more--" how to word it? Carl tilted his head. The damage was changing. The portion of broken wall moved, shifted, wavered. He hadn't noticed it at first. Or he had, but figured it was just the interplay of light and water. Now that he was closer it was clear that was not the case.
"Carl? Come on, buddy. What's going on?"
Jake sounded far away. Carl wanted to look back at the sub, thought he should, thought it was a really good idea. Pulling his eyes away from the ever-shifting scene became a better idea with each new moment. He knew he wasn't moving. His body had gone slack in the water. He couldn't pull his gaze from the kaleidoscopic pattern even if he wanted to, but he didn't. Its beauty was mesmerizing.
Color folded into shapes and blossomed into patterns. Now infinite stars, now a single gem. Constant change. A sheen of oil in a pool of water in a light rain. The unending flow of time in all its spectacular glory.
Somewhere, far away, Jake was calling him. But there was no reason to listen to Jake, or anything for that matter. He was being drawn into the wall, not his body but him. He's Being, pulled from his body.
Then as simple as a television being shut off, the enchanting scene went dark.
Carl sat up with a start. He blinked. He was in his room, back on the ship. He looked at his hands and saw the night sky.