Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Lost days with the mysteries of the deep (part 1) - discovery

What a confused set of events I have wrapped myself up in once again and I see once more at what risk I place others in my reckless abandon.

It was some two week past now that I set off to investigate the rumours surrounding the human-like creatures, the so-called Mer-people of the Vernian sea. I have through accident and lack of foresight called too much upon the love of my friends, of one in particular who should by rights have walked away many months ago.

The events of the last fortnight have blurred and merged, both dragging out in interminable loneliness and yet with timelessness of the sun free underwater world, assisted by our murky smog filled sky, a near complete loss of the passing of day and night.

It was but a few hours after posting my last report to the Primgraph when I set sail. The sun was setting as I left, I had no plan, I had not in truth expected to find more than a pile of junk deposited by the currents of the void sea beyond the charted Vernian's limits. I had left from Aegir's hall, the Hippocampus had been docked there recently following a storm on the surface and recently serviced and cleaned was ready to sail.

Undocking from the airlock, I headed due east, rising over the tunnels and heading over the rising seabed towards the region known locally as the deep, the edge of the continental shelf beyond which the sea bed drops suddenly to unfathomable depths as part of the void sea rift. Sure enough, as had been rumoured, out of the gloom emerged what appeared to be a rough pile of man made junk, the jetsam of our cruise ships and I dare say our industrialists but there was something about this stack that struck the human observer attuned to organisation. The stack was no more a random deposit of junk than an ant hill is a pile of dirt, it had form and structure and whilst not aesthetically pleasing per se, a form of its own nonetheless. I skirted around the structure, structure being the best term I could determine for it, and letting my lamps light the many nooks and crannies, marvelling at the way that unrelated bric-a-brac had been fused together. The light at such depths, my gauges registered some 80 metres, is poor at best and I began to question my own observation as I saw shadows flit across my lamps. A dolphin, a seal perhaps but neither seemed quite right, the tail shape, the movement, it was like no cetacean, nor pinniped that I had ever known. A trick of the shadows I decided as I passed more encrusted metal walls that must once have been the hulls of ships.

I was moving clockwise around the structure, rising slowly and heading along the west flank of the structure when I came across the most incredible sight. Before me with shimmering scales and iridescent tail fins, swam a woman, both beguilingly beautiful and fearsome at once; her deep blue skin near lost in the gloom her brilliant white hair glowing in my lamp light. She cocked her head to watch me or more correctly my vessel, as I am convinced that she had not at that moment seen me inside but instead was curious about the machine itself. She swam alongside and I ventured to wave at her, an action which brought her up sharp, and with a flick of her tail she vanished.

I brought the sub to a halt in mid water. manipulating the side pods to turn myself slowly through a full circle, hunting through the gloom to find this mirage. I could deny this no longer, the rumours were correct, that was no mere trick of the light, Doctor Kaligawa's recent study had indeed accurately identified a new species, potentially a new Linnaean class, as this seemed neither wholly mammalia nor pisces an observation soon reinforced as many shapes emerged from beyond the reach of my lamps.

I was surrounded now by curious creatures of a beauty unseen in our world. Their skins of bright hues, oranges and blues, greens and reds. Their limbs part human in form, part alien, having the form of a fish's tail or the legs of an octopus. They moved closer, cautiously at first, and I held the vessel as steady as I could, with shaking hands as I watched in awe. With a few minutes the bolder individuals had reached out to touch and prod the craft and smiled in at me, their faces pressed to the glass as I waved nervously back.

All of a sudden there was an almighty cracking sound, the screech of metal on metal, the creatures scattered back into the murk as the submarine pitched to port, spinning out of control, water began to flood in and I panicked. I tried to open the hatches, but they were jammed, I know now of course that this was simply the pressure imbalance but in my confusion I just wanted to get out as the water rose, already above the knee and rapidly heading to my waist. The pitching and rolling of the Hippocampus was putting enormous strain on its structure, and I briefly battled to stabilise it, fighting with the controls as it crashed head long into the bedrock, my last memories of that incident, were of the crushing pressure of water and the sound of breaking glass as I was thrown around the small cabin. I believe I struck my head, the evidence supports this, in any event, I lost consciousness and by all reasonable expectations should have died.

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