First Lieutenant Jesus Gonzales paid little attention to the cockpit notice where the crew of the Staten Island prepared to scoop up water in a refueling process. The spaceship had already taken position in a remote part of the ocean where it could skim the surface. He took hold of a stanchion to steady himself when the slight bump rocked through the ship as the scoop deployed. A roaring sound vibrated through the ship as air surged into the scoop to be diverted into a funnel that forced out a compressed stream of air ahead of the ship. The resultant blast of air hit the water creating a fine mist that could be sucked into the same scoop. All the while, the ship collected water that could later be separated into hydrogen fuel and oxygen, not to mention water after some of the impurities were removed. Because only the raised mist of water entered the scoop there was little chance of striking anything in the ocean. To do that, an object would have to protrude well above the water.
That was unlikely though. To anyone who might see the ship, all that remained visible was an extremely fast moving wave followed by a twin rooster tail. Doubtless the sight would cause tales of sea monsters. However, that was why the ship skimmed the surface in a remote location: for the very purpose of avoiding contact.
Then the unexpected impact struck. Gonzales flailed about only to lose his grip on the stanchion as it broke. He staggered toward the closed airlock only to be thrown back as the entire airlock unit burst inward in a shower of shattered pieces of advanced composite materials, wood, and salt water. Gonzales, however, didn't have the opportunity to analyze why there would be wood striking him. Nor did he pay much attention to the cockpit voices. Instead, he doubled over in pain from the broken stanchion that impaled him.
"What hit us?" the co-pilot asked over the ship's com.
"Everyone hang on! We hit something! We're down!" the pilot warned.
The ship rumbled and vibrated in a way that only attempting to ride the surface water at high speed could produce. Gonzales gripped the stanchion as he fought to live. He knew that he could survive if he didn't bleed to death first by opening the wound completely. It was just a matter of getting into the ship's advanced automatic medical ward.
"Where's the damned island?" a cockpit voice shouted.
The crunching sound answered that last question before it was finished. The ship came to a sudden halt amid a burst of spray and sand. Despite his pain, Gonzales held onto the stanchion to avoid further harm.
"Computer, send medical assistance." He waited briefly for the auto-stretcher to arrive and listened for others to report on their condition. Quiet prevailed. "Computer, activate ship-wide com. All hands. This is Lieutenant Gonzales in the Scout Wardrobe compartment.Scout airlock is destroyed. There's wood, water, and sand in the compartment. I'm going to need medical assistance. Computer, report damage."
He listened to a list of damaged and inoperative systems that reeled off as the computer reported using backup power. He knew he was dead when the computer listed the medical ward as inoperative.
"All hands report. Is anyone else alive?" Gonzales asked.
Still, silence reigned with only the sound of lapping waves somewhere outside the ship to break it.