Monthly Archives: October 2012

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween. That’s today, right? Celebrating the spooky on the surface world? I hope it all goes well.

It’s a nightmare here, worse than any Halloween. I don’t even know if this thing is still working, and I’ve been too discouraged to use it for the last week, but I think it might be all I have left to preserve my sanity. If this is still working, please send for help. If it’s possible… the secrecy around this mission has probably killed us now.

The pipe connecting us to the surface broke. Water poured in through the open tubes into the ship. Myself and three others – al-Kitaabi, the chemist Judith Lawrence, and the geologist/oceanographer Michael Martinelli – managed to get into one of our bunks and seal the door before the water drowned us. It was less than a minute before Hubie was full… my god… we had to shut everyone else out. They tried to reach us, but the water just kept pouring in… They’re dead now, without a doubt.

Then our sub fell, rolling over the edge of the abyss. We watched through the viewport of our room. It went on forever.

We fell for two days. We were dying of thirst and hunger before Martinelli snapped and opened the door we had sealed shut against the water. We were immediately inundated with a blast of the brackish stuff, but the pressure had decreased significantly, and we could step outside into the submarine. The water had drained out of Hubie somehow. We had also stopped falling.

We gathered what supplies we could, and drank ourselves sick. Without al-Kitaabi’s advice, we would still be retching up water. He helped us slowly nurse ourselves back to health – or what health we could gain. We have another two weeks of supplies if we eat sparingly. Most of our equipment is destroyed, but we salvaged what we could; a few portable water measurement devices, supplies, my samples of plankton and flesh, and two flashlights.

I don’t know what happened. Was our mission sabotaged by a rival? Did something down here get us? At least the possibly living corpse didn’t follow us. But we’re still trapped in the submarine. I don’t know why the engines stopped working, and we lost all of our mechanically-inclined people. Kitaabi has been looking at it, though, without success. Myself and the other two tried to figure out why the water had stopped spurting in through the open piping, and we found it had melded itself shut somehow near where it joins Hubie. Presumably we have a trail of piping following us. Our air won’t last long. It should have run out a while ago.

We’re going to die down here.

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Posted by on October 31, 2012 in Blog Fiction


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

It all happened so fast. My god… where are we? What happened? Is this even getting through?

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Posted by on October 25, 2012 in Blog Fiction


Monday, October 22, 2012

We ran into some problems over the past few days. Our piping got stuck on something. It took about two days to sort out. Meanwhile, we were stuck. I had already done the necessary work on the enormous corpse. I would have written, but couldn’t think of what could be said. Nothing of interest happened.

Until two days ago. The corpse moved. No one else believes me; me and one of the chemists were the only two people up. He was half-asleep. I was too busy being disturbed by it to sleep.

Then it twitched. Just a mass of flesh. Twitching. It made air bubbles around it. It might have been an eye that twitched.

They all said I just needed more sleep though. I hope they’re right. We’ve moved on now, though the towering mass of the corpse is still visible behind us, through the murky water. We’ve reached the edge of the abyss now, and I feel like I’m going to be sick. That thing behind us, if it really is alive, could kill us all in an instant. But it was probably just decomposing. That corpse. That’s why it twitched. The decomposing bacteria must just be hiding, which is why we didn’t find any in the water.

I don’t even convince myself. We haven’t seen any other lifeforms approach the corpse. I have a bad feeling about this. But it’s too late to turn back.

The abyss is even darker than the rest of the water. We’re parked only a dozen or so meters from the edge, where the ocean floor drops off suddenly in a sheer cliff extending God only knows how far down. We can’t see the other side of it from here. We can’t see anything down there. Last night the oceanographer went out and collected water samples, descending a little bit into the abyss, and found that the water is thicker. It seems to be laced with some sort of actual black, viscous fluid, like oil, but thicker. We’re reluctant to advance further until we figure out what it is. The chemists are working on it now. Until then, all we can do is wait.

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Posted by on October 22, 2012 in Blog Fiction


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

My deepest apologies for such a late update, but I misplaced my digital journal tablet, and only just found it, hiding under the stove in the galley. I’m not entirely sure how it got there, but this is now remaining on my person at almost all times.

Aside from that, it’s been a most exciting week. We touched the bottom of the ocean on Saturday the 13th, about a mile from where the abyss begins. The strangely intelligent and odd jellyfish remained a constant factor in our descent, and the large thing that had appeared on our sonar has not returned.

I went out in the mini-sub a few times during our descent, but never managed to collect any samples; the occasional deep-sea fish and all of the jellyfish were able to easily evade my clumsy maneuvering. Oh well.

The water, though, is most interesting. While the green glow of the plankton is still visible above us – stretching out as far as I can see – there appear to be absolutely no plankton below them. I haven’t found even the smallest planktonic cell! I’ve found a few dead cells shrugged off of fish and other denizens, but no independent microbial organisms at all. This baffles me beyond my words; I don’t understand how any ecosystem, particularly one in which food is so scarce, can survive without a healthy population of microscopic organisms. No one else really seems to understand my bafflement, save the oceanographer, who is worried by this.

The water pressure has also eased up a considerable amount. By no means is it safe to go outside unprotected, but the water pressure was actually greater above the bed of plankton than it is down here. It seems as if the plankton are somehow able to actually hold back the water, keeping it suspended somehow. I took out one of my samples of the plankton and examined them, and found them to actually be astonishing hydrophobic – sometimes. It appeared to come and go. It is most odd.

On Monday night, we began to move out, sufficiently disturbed by our readings. The boat above us moved with us as we slowly and cautiously approached the abyss. We should arrive there sometime in a day or two, or maybe three.

What has slowed us down now – otherwise we would have been at the abyss’ edge already – is our discovery of a gargantuan corpse. Because of the lack of any form of microbial organism here, its body is perfectly preserved. I took a mini-sub out when we came across it, and it appears to stretch miles and miles, beyond my vision. It is enormous beyond belief.

What exactly it is is anyone’s guess. It possessed what appear to some form of gelatinous body, with what may be pseudopods all over the place. It also has a wide array of tentacles, and at least two mouths lined with razor-sharp fangs. Its highly-porous skin is embedded with countless eyes and other structures I believe to be sensory organs. I went out in the mini-sub and have dissected parts of it. It appears to have a nervous system similar to ours, but everything else is completely alien. It is enormously disturbing, and I have had to avoid looking out of the viewports when I can; it is much easier to work on bite-sized sampled in the lab than to look out at the mountain of flesh, easily stretching forty or fifty meters high.

Its body is long and thing; while its length is several miles, as I said, and its height is between forty and fifty meters, its width is about a hundred meters. When we had descended, we had originally mistaken it for a rock formation. Were that it were. I fear now that there might be others like it out there; thank God it is dead. I hope. I can’t really be sure. I wish to move on, but our expedition leader insists I glean everything that I can from it. If it’s sleeping, I hope it does not wake up.

I will return to my work now, so we can get moving away from it. It is a shame I cannot send pictures; the world would be astonished by what I can see even now. I will write to you soon, I hope, assuming I am not eaten by the monster or its brethren. Wish me luck!

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Posted by on October 17, 2012 in Blog Fiction


Friday, October 12, 2012

We did it! It took us far too long and far too much effort, but it’s finally done! The chemists had a breakthrough last night and developed a compound with a name too long for me remember – let alone pronounce – that could break through the plankton’s nearly impenetrable cell wall and dissolve everything inside, rendering them empty husks. We used special tubes to administer a dose directly beneath and to the sides of Hubie, and dissolved the plankton keeping us from descending. The cloud – or swarm – of plankton was only about five meters thick, so we passed through it without a problem. As soon as we were through, however, the plankton swarmed back to fill in the hole we had made. I’m sure if they were able to they would have somehow stopped the tubing connecting us to the surface from passing through their midst, but we are safe in that regard.

Still, though the plankton are behind us, I can’t help but worry slightly about them. I found in their cytoplasm a series of tiny structures, almost unnoticeable, that seem to give off electrical signals eerily similar to those found in the human nervous system. It’s not possible for such small organisms to have sentience, but still, this combined with their actions is a little odd. I suppose it’s only because of their apparent resistance to letting us pass that I am uneasy about them, though; otherwise I would be ecstatic. I’ve gathered some samples of it and have them kept in containers in my lab for future studies; they are certainly odd specimens.

The world below the plankton is a strange one indeed. Hubie has stopped its descent for now – we hope to resume it and touch bottom Saturday morning – while we take readings and sample the new environment we find ourselves in. Looking up, one can see the shimmering silk screen of the plankton, their bioluminescence giving the water a faint green hue. We’ve seen a fair few lifeforms already, but nothing major; most of them are jellyfish, glowing with the same light as the plankton. Many of them appear to be carrying rocks, and one looked to be carrying what looked like a sword of all things. Some level of intelligence is possible in jellyfish – I mean, look at the box jellyfish for an example of that – but never before have jellyfish been seen carrying things. Most of them are about the size of my head, but several have been smaller and there were two almost as large as Hubie, off in the distance. They all give Hubie a wide birth, so our glimpses of them have been fleeting. The water also is surprisingly murky and thick, and not conducive to transmitting light; it’s odd that the plankton’s light from above is so bright.

The other specimens I’ve catalogued down here include an anglerfish, two gulper eels, a black loosejaw, and several viperfish. They seem to be mostly normal, if not colored slightly oddly; green seems to be the theme here. There have also been a few small squid, and what may have been a dead crab corpse floating about. That was grabbed by a jellyfish and taken away before we could get to it.

I haven’t yet gone out in a minisub. I was about to not four hours ago when Hubie’s sonar detected something massive off to starboard; it was only there for an instant, but was several times larger than Hubie, and of an unidentifiable shape. I might go out again soon, once we are sure that the coast is clear and I shan’t be eaten.

Here’s to being at the top of the food chain! I’ll update you next when something interesting happens. Ta-ta for now!

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Posted by on October 12, 2012 in Blog Fiction


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

It’s been a long and slow week. I’m sorry I haven’t written much, but nothing worthwhile has happened over the past week. We’ve been stuck on this bed of roiling, glowing, green plankton the entire time. It’s only gotten creepier as the days have gone by. I’ve left the warmth and comfort of Hubie a few times now, in one of its four mini-subs, to collect plankton samples. The plankton moves away from me and actively tries to flee the steel cup I capture them in, displaying a disturbing amount of awareness of their environment. I can’t help but shake off the feeling that the entire mass is somehow alive, like each tiny little spark of life coming together creates an enormous hivemind-like entity.

That’s probably just Mr. Wilmot’s overactive imagination rubbing off on me, though.

Still, we can’t break through the bed of plankton. Their constant undulation makes Hubie roll up and down constantly, and at times it can get a little bit nauseating and hard to concentrate on my work. Which, by the way, has made little progress; the chemists and I have been up almost every night trying to come up with a way to break through the plankton. They don’t react to most external stimuli acting on them, save when I try and catch them. I already tried digging my way through them with my sample-collector, but blocking us somehow seems to override their self-preservation complex, and they rush to fill in the hole.

So our only solution, we determined, is some chemical compound, but even that seems to be failing. The chemists can’t find anything, and of course, everyone is blaming it on me. I’ve had more than a few angry communications with the people up above, telling us to get a move on. I am glad that they can send us food down through the piping that the cables are wrapped around; otherwise our stores would be long depleted. Hubie’s a large sub, but with four labs, a dozen bedrooms, a galley, an exercise room, and a navigation chamber, there isn’t much room for extra stores. It would be most unfortunate were our connection to the surface lost; we wouldn’t last more than a week.

Well, I was just letting my followers – however few they may be – on the surface know where we are now. I’ll step up my efforts in assisting the chemists, but this is in their hands now. I’ll write again once we’ve figured out how to get past these planktony pests. Wish me luck!

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Posted by on October 9, 2012 in Blog Fiction


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

It’s a whole different world down here! Every time I go down to the bottom of the world, to the deepest lair of the ocean, I think the same thing, but this time I really, really mean it! Everything surrounding me right now is so completely and utterly alien, and so utterly unfamiliar, even to me, a student of the strange abyssal creatures that live down here, beneath countless tons of pressing water.

But I get ahead of myself.

The descent down here took up most of Sunday. We’ve abandoned all communications with the outside world, save the communications team on board the ship and my personal link with Mr. Wilmot. It certainly creates a different atmosphere, having no access to the surface world save these two faint lifelines. Reminds me of how fragile we humans really are.

We descended slowly to give Hubie, our loyal submersible, ample time to adjust t the drastic pressure changes occurring in the water around him. As we are connected via piping to the ship above, the internal pressure will remain the same, but Hubie’s hull will be under a lot of stress.

We took readings as we descended, each according to his speciality; the chemists did analyses of water content, the geologists mineral content, and I the plankton content, as well as a general survey of marine life. At a very deep depth of around twenty thousand leagues, our descent stopped and by plankton readers went wild. It had been dark for quite a while, the sunlight slowly fading as we descended into the abyss – a sight that never fails to give me the chills. Hubie’s lights were on a faint setting when we stopped, and I asked our fearless team leader, the indomitable Omar al-Kitaabi, to turn the lights up higher. He did so, and then there was a wonder before me.

We were resting on a roiling green cloud that my plankton reader informed me was an enormous swarm of plankton. It stretched out as far as the eye could see in every direction, and was thick enough to stop our descent. The people up on the surface radioed down concern over our halting, and Omar explained it to them. They tried a variety of tactics to break through the cloud, but were unsuccessful. I was informed by al-Kitaabi that we could not go around the cloud – our movements were restricted by our connection to the surface, and the cloud was enormous – so I had to come up with something to deal with the plankton. I went out in a small, personal submersible attached to Hubie and collected some samples of the plankton, and the chemists and I have been working hard to discover what might possibly persuade them to move.

I’m writing this as I wait on the results of some tests. I’ll need to get back to work soon. But before I stop writing, I want to tell you all what’s really so alien about all this. The plankton are unlike anything I’ve ever seen, and they’ve made what seems to be a sea under the sea; our lights have charged up their photosynthetic units, and now they glow. We rest atop a glowing, boiling sea of glowing green, whose movement stirs up enormous bubbles in the distance, creating a bubbling, undulating, living landscape. I can’t imagine what will lie under this! Doubtlessly it will be even more alien.

I’ll update you when we break through the plankton! Ta-ta for now!

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Posted by on October 3, 2012 in Blog Fiction