“What is it, Lynn?” At the helm of the Research Submarine Nereid, Marcus Clark scanned the immediate vicinity through the view port while everyone else in the cabin looked toward the navigator.
“It’s not the Megalodon we encountered yesterday. Not much bigger, but it reads differently.”
“Something even more minatory?”
“Cut with the erudite crap, Dr. Everett. That prehistoric shark was bad news enough.” Former Marine Gunnery Sergeant Leon Spencer hated being penned inside this tin can underneath hundreds of meters of ocean where his skills meant nothing.
“It’s unthinkable that your experiment should have gotten this far.”
Linguist and historian Aiyana Zheutlin was sitting next to Dr. Carson Everett, the inventor of the Kaala Effect.
“150 meters to starboard and heading this way. We’re just 15 meters below it. 110 meters and closing.” Lynn Dai’s voice sounded calm but her fingers were white as she gripped the sonar console.
“We’re coming up on one of the docking ports of the tunnel connecting Piller Island to Cooke’s. I’m directly over it now. Opening the ventral clamps. Five meters to contact…three…”
“Less than 75 meters. It’ll pass nearly overhead, maybe eleven meters from the bow.”
“Contact.” The Nereid lurched as it mated with the port at the top of the undersea tunnel. “Locking clamps engaged. Shutting down engines and main lighting. If we’re not moving, whatever it is might not notice us.”
Lynn checked the sub’s systems board. “It’s a good link up. Just like threading a needle.
“Should we bend low in our seats if it’s going to pass over us so closely, Commander?” Vasnev Romanovich, Formerly a Major in the Russian Air Force and ex-Cosmonaut also had the distinction of possessing a dubious sense of humor.
“Marcus, it should be about to pass in front of us. Can you see it?”
Clark’s eyes widened as the apparition approached. He’d only seen its like in horror movies and artists’ paintings in museums. “I think this is in your ballpark, Bell. What the hell is it?”
Paleontologist Travis Bell looked up with astonishment through the right forward viewing panel. “Mosasaurus. As far as I know, the last one should have died almost 70 million years ago.”
“Passing directly in front of us and continuing to port.”
“Thanks, Lynn. Keep an eye on it.” Clark lowered his head and noticed sweat dripping from his face down onto the helm controls.
“Is it over?”
“It’s only beginning, Aiyana. Commander, I suggest you shut down the rest of your systems and that we all prepare to disembark.” Everett had unbuckled his safety harness and was already standing. Taking his cue, Spencer and Romanovich did the same.
“We’re leaving the sub? I thought…”
“You were briefed on the contingencies like the rest of us, Travis. In my opinion, an approach by sea is too dangerous. The tunnels will be safer.”
Bell stood and walked over to Carson. “What if they’ve gotten into the tunnels?”
“If we don’t take this option, we’ll be at an impasse which is totally unacceptable. You knew the risks going in, young man.”
“Hey, this isn’t social media where everyone gets an opinion, Bell. We signed a contract. Everett’s the boss, so saddle up.” Spencer turned away from the pair and joined Romanovich in checking the weapons locker.
Everett softened his tone when he addressed Bell again. “The safety interlocks wouldn’t allow them access to the tunnels, so there will be no actual danger of encountering any hazardous life until we go above ground. We’re counting on your expertise to get us through whatever mess we’ve been left with so we can reach the experiment.”
“Besides, my dear Mr. Bell. We shall all be armed.” The Russian chuckled as he snapped a magazine into his AK-103. “I assure you whatever collection of ancient monsters we may face will scatter when I begin firing.”
Three months ago, eccentric billionaire inventor Theodore Falkon completed construction of the world’s first working model of Carson Everett’s invention, the Kaala Effect Projector on the largest island in the Piller chain which his family had privately owned for a century. The President and CEO of Daedalus International ignored Everett’s warnings and brought the unit up to full power without any testing.
Now, as far as most of the rest of the world remembered, neither Falkon nor his international conglomerate had ever existed. However, the technologically advanced nations were all deeply concerned by the strange energy field that had erupted on Piller and has been growing ever since.
Carson Everett had convinced the American, Australian, and British governments to fund and sanction a mission to investigate the phenomenon and, if possible, stop it before the temporal anomalies they were experiencing became dangerous, or worse, permanently fractured the nature of time-space on a global scale.
But the physicist was the only one of their party of seven to know the truth. Even if they survived their excursion through the undersea tunnel system and then the masses of prehistoric life forms that infested the surface of Piller, their only hope of saving the planet was not in shutting down the projector, but by entering the temporal field and stopping the damage to the multiverse from the inside.
I wrote this for Wordle #190 hosted at Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie. The idea is to use at least 10 of the 12 words of the “wordle” in a poem, short story, or other creative work. I “bolded” the words I used. The full list is:
- Minatory ((adj.) menacing, threatening)
- Erudite (adj.)) characterized be great knowledge, learned, scholarly)