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Dark Fathoms

Modified on 2013/09/28 12:16 by Kerrick Categorized as Books, Deathlands
      Only God Almighty and naval research can save us from the perils of the sea.

- US Senator John William Warner (ret.)

   The first chapter of the story opens in Poseidon Base, a secret Naval facility in the Pacific. The bombs have just fallen, and the facility goes on lockdown. AIDAN, the AI controlling the base, receives new orders from the Totality Concept; the captain, who knows what those orders are, kills himself, leaving his XO in command.
   Fast forward to the present. The companions arrive in the base's mat-trans. The place is quiet and dark, and the control room is cut off by a flooded passage. The passage is guarded by something huge with tentacles (an octopus or squid), but the companions use explosives to stun it long enough to get past.
   When they get to an airlock, a computerized voice announces their presence and sends "security forces", aka the remains of the crew, who have been turned into cyborgs. Ryan is paralyzed by some sort of gas during the fight, and they retreat and end up in the captain's quarters, where they find an interface with the computer. AIDAN recognizes Doc and Mildred, and calls off the attack. They're all processed and inducted into the crew, and AIDAN lets them go.
   Krysty is assigned to the aquaculture lab, where she discovers that several of the plants there have gained sentience and a taste for flesh. Ryan, JB, Ricky, and Jak are sent to maintenance; they find a submersible and a deep-sea diving suit. Doc is sent to the command center, where he finds a DVD left behind by the XO detailing the crew's final days. The XO tells them there's a shuttle in a pod that was cut off from the base, and that they should use it to escape.
   With this in mind, the companions fix up the submersible and send Ryan out in the suit to do a recon, while Doc and Mildred move tanks of liquid oxygen rigged with explosive to various places in the base. He finds the pod and verifies that it's still intact, so he hauls the sub over. Along the way, they're attacked by two artificially altered squid, but Ryan kills one and fights the other off. They blow the tanks, flooding the base, and flee to the surface via an escape pod.
   On the surface, they're attacked by the second squid, which grabs Ryan and pulls him under, but Jak rescues him. They drift for several days before sighting a huge cruise ship; about the same time, they're attacked by cannies in canoes, but fight them off. An entourage from the ship meets with them and takes them aboard, but they're attacked (this time by a second faction on the ship), and Krysty, JB, and Jak are taken prisoner.
   It turns out there are two factions on the ship - the officers and staff (the upper decks) and the maintenance crew (the lower, Downrunners). The lower decks people want equality and better representation, and the officers want the ship to themselves, so they've sealed off the lower decks. The captain wants the companions to kill the Chif Engner, the Downrunners' leader, and they want to rescue their friends, so they agree.
   Meanwhile, the companions below are greeted by the belowdecks crew and given an offer - kill the officers and be reunited with their friends. None of the companions are interested in helping the crazies (they just want to get off the ship), but they agree. The group from above penetrates into the lower levels and meets up with their lost friends, whereupon they learn that there's a third faction that wants to take over the entire ship.
   JB sets a bomb in the turbine room as leverage to enable their escape, but it goes off prematurely, punching a hole in the hull. With the ship sinking, the companions flee to the upper deck and get to their escape pod, which is tethered to the ship, and get away before the whole thing goes under.
DEATHLANDS, OUTLANDERS, EARTH BLOOD, and JAMES AXLER are all the property of Gold Eagle / Worldwide Library, and are used here strictly under Fair Use guidelines.
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