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The Dive

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An Unofficial Phoenix Point Fanfic by Gunlord500, Published on 1/26/2018

[Item 928c-453]

Date of Creation: Unknown, Date of Recovery: May 30, 2047. During operation Silver Witch, Agents [REDACTED] and [REDACTED] successfully infiltrated a New Jericho archival facility while defending one of their havens from a mutant incursion. While the defense was successful, New Jericho is aware of our unauthorized access into their intelligence records. However, Phoenix Command has concluded the value of the data contained in items 877-965 outweighs the strain on relations with Tobias West.

[Beginning of Transcript]

S: Tim, how’s it going down there? Everything check out?

T: [Muffled, inaudible]

S: Tim, you okay?

T: Oh? Yeah, yeah! Great, actually. Sorry, I was just—Hold on—There we go. Yeah, I’m perfect. Thrusters, cameras, sonar, lights, life support, telemetry—every single thing on this sub’s working like it’s brand new. [chuckles nervously] You got some ju-ju working or something, Steve? Never been on a dive where everything started off this well.

S: [Laughter] Well, after all the money [inaudible] guys put into this dive, I’d hope everything was perfect. And this thing is brand new, or close enough to it. Vanadium’s latest and greatest, opening wide the secrets of the deep, first sub capable of hitting the bottom of the Mariana Trench in an hour and coming back up in half. Pinnacle of man’s aquatic—

T: I get it, I get it. [REDACTED], Steve, you sound like one of their salesmen.

S: What, I’m not allowed to be excited? This is the finest piece of engineering I’ve ever seen!

T: [Chuckles] OK. Just get me started.

S: Yup. Beginning descent. Oh, Tim, one more thing—if anything goes wrong, and I mean anything, I’m scuttling the dive and bringing you back up.

T: What, are you serious? After everything’s started off so well?

S: You know how quickly things can go to [REDACTED]. This is just a test run, the reason they hired us was to see if the Glaucus was safe. We’re not on a real expedition. If something [REDACTED] up, they got their answer, and we’re heading back to get our pay. Let Vanadium handle the rest, it’s not our worry.

T: [Nervous chuckling] Well, I’m glad to hear at least somebody cares.

S: So? Any problems?

T: Nope, everything’s working like a charm. Fifteen minutes in, 500 feet per minute, all systems are…green!

S: [Laughter]

T: Whoah! Whoah, hey!

S: What is it? Something happen?

T: Nah, just surprised, that’s all. Something bumped into the side of the sub.

S: Why don’t you see what it was? This isn’t the Discovery channel, but we might as well give the lights and the camera a workout.

T: OK. Uh…[inaudible] OK. It came from my left, let me work the lighting arrays, I—[REDACTED]!

S: What, what is it?

T: What do you mean, what is it? Did you see that thing?

S: Yeah. It was just a squid.

T: That wasn’t a squid! No way that was a squid!

S: What’re you talking about?

T: Let me show you—[loud thudding] Uh, I think it’s mad—doesn’t like the lights—

S: Turn them off, then. Use the night cameras.

T: Yeah, OK. [Static, rumbling] Got it. Let me find it again…

S: Not seeing anything.

T: Maybe it went awa—no, no! There it is! Steve, you see it?

S: [Inaudible]

T: Steve?

S: Yeah, yeah, I see it. [REDACTED], you were right, Tim.

T: What is it? I’ve never seen anything like it, not at any depth. Is it a squid or a shark?

S: [REDACTED] if I know. Looks like it could be both.

T: At least it’s calmed down, now. [REDACTED], a new species! A whole new phylum, even! [REDACTED], what a jackpot! The journals are gonna be all over this!

S: Easy there, tiger. I mean, it looks like a fake, doesn’t it? Like somebody just spliced together the front end of a hammerhead shark with the tentacles of a Humboldt squid. Neither of those things even live in this part of the ocean and at this depth.

T: But that wasn’t fake! You saw how it moved!

S: Some kind of animatronic, maybe. Prop for some horror movie or something.

T: What would movie extras be doing down here?

S: I dunno. Some director lost it while filming at sea.

T: It sure as hell didn’t move like any animatronic I ever saw.

S: They’re advanced these days. Hell of a lot more likely than a sharksquid appearing down here.

T: [Inaudible]

[Middle pages of the transcript have been lost or too severely damaged to read]

T: Uh, OK…at the current rate of descent, about 10 minutes before we hit the bottom. Whoo! I feel like James Cameron!

S: Yeah, great. What about the tests?

T: All great. The graphite battery’s got 10 hours left, life support twenty, light arrays and cameras all—Look! Look!

S: [REDACTED]! Another one of those things?

T: There’s two of them!

S: Some unhappy director must’ve lost a lot of [REDACTED] down here.

T: Another! Another! Look at how they’re moving! I don’t think these are all movie props!

S: [REDACTED]! We got a whole shoal of ‘em. Looks like you were right, Tim. Maybe we’ll get ourselves in Nature after all.

T: It looks like they’re heading someplace. I’m gonna follow them.

S: Hold on, I told you this wasn’t an expedition. Just hit the bottom and come right back up.

T: They’re heading down anyways, why not take a look? [REDACTED], It’s like they don’t even notice the pressure! Should I try to get a specimen?

S: [Inaudible] No, no, no. They’re too big. Just keep your lights off and don’t provoke them.

T: Got it.

S: Any updates?

T: One minute to bottom. Christ, how many of those things were there? I’ve never seen so many fish this deep. What the hell do they live off of? There’s not nearly enough marine snow to support a school that large.

S: Well, that’s what you’re here to find out, isn’t it?

T: Don’t get smart, Steve, I know you’re as excited as I am. It looks like…what the hell?

S: That’s—

T: [REDACTED]! What am I looking at?

S: I-I think that might be…a whale fall, maybe?

T: It’s absolutely crawling with those shark-squid things, and…I can’t even tell what the rest are. I haven’t seen anything like them before. Ever. Those little ones look like human hands, and that other thing, like a nautilus with claws. Was some psycho doing genetic experiments down here or something?

S: Not likely, but [REDACTED], I don’t have a better answer.

T: I can’t get a good look at it with the night camera.

S: I don’t think it’s a good idea to turn on the lights, not after how mad the first sharksquid got.

T: Yeah. Yeah. I don’t like this.

S: Then ascend. Now!

T: Okay. Yeah. Yeah, definitely. Hey, what the hell?

S: Where are all those…creatures going?

T: Seems like they’re…swimming inside of that whalefall. What the—that’s not a whalefall. Steve, what the hell is it?

S: I have no idea. I’ve never seen anything like it.

T: Continuing ascent, five hundred feet per minute.

S: It wasn’t a whalefall. No bones, no flesh, nothing. Looked like…looked like fungus more than anything else. I swear to God I saw a puffball in my backyard last week that looked kind of like that, but without those…pulsing…holes all over it.

T: Was it as big as a [REDACTED] house?

S: Hell no.

T: Then I—[Thudding, screeching]

S: Tim? Tim! What happened?

T: [REDACTED]! Something’s got a hold of the sub!

S: What do you mean? What’s wrong? Your ascent’s stopped!

T: [Screaming]

S: What the [REDACTED] is wrong? What’s happening?

T: It’s a [REDACTED] face! A [REDACTED] woman’s face on a [voice cut off by more screeching]

S: Drop all of your ballast! Get the [REDACTED] out of there as quickly as possible!

T: Oh, Christ! Christ, help me! Those eyes, they’re not human! She’s trying to get in! The [REDACTED] sub is—please, Christ, no, she’s—[intensified screaming, louder screeching, then silence]

[transcript ends]