They broke the surface of the ocean after several hours of slowly rising. Waves buffeted the submarine, which began to bob up and down, from side to side. William had read about this in books, but never experienced it for himself, and was quite unprepared for the reality of it.
He had lived under the sea since birth, a child of the ocean city of Lienns, sixty-seventh such city to be built and home to a quarter of a million. There was everything down there a boy could ever need, he thought, apart from one crucial element – true adventure.
The submarine hatch hissed as the pressure equalised with the outside. Then lights flashed, the door clunked open, and Will received his first ever taste of fresh night air.
He climbed the ladder up to the outside deck. Tulia followed, grabbing his arm to stop him falling over the side from the unfamiliar motion. Brin came up next, carrying three foldable chairs, which he set upon the deck, and then went back below for bottles of green tea.
Will stared over the ocean. It was dark. A close, comforting darkness, Will thought, until Tulia told him to turn his head upward. Above, a hundred thousand dots of light decorated the heavens, and Will realised that they were much further away than anything he had ever set eyes upon.
The three friends sat in their chairs, drank the tea, drank in the quiet night, and listened to the sound of water lapping against the hull. The vessel swayed like baby’s cradle, and Will found himself quite comfortable despite the vast distances above his head. Lulled into a dreamy state, he wondered how many billions before him had sat in the quiet night air and looked up at the bright green moon.