36,000ft below the surface of the ocean is 33,000ft beyond the reach of the last rays of sunlight. It's enveloped in complete and total darkness, near freezing temperatures, and unfathomable pressure.
It's the most inhospitable environment on the planet. And yet, life exists.
Small shrimp, flat fish and thousands of species never before seen by human eyes scurry and dart above the powdery ocean floor. In the freezing waters they search cautiously for their next meal, while trying to avoid becoming one themselves.
Over the course of millions of years, they have evolved and adapted to the intense pressure and cold. They have developed extra senses to navigate the darkness. Each has developed unique offensive and defensive capabilities. Abilities that might only be described as "superpowers" by those living on dry ground.
The ability to create light; to see in the dark. Even the ability to transform their very shape, color and texture to blend in seamlessly with their surroundings in a mere blink of an eye. The ability to become invisible.
Today the local inhabitants have a visitor, one not as well adapted to the harsh environment. One, much more fragile than themselves. An alien to these surroundings.
The ocean floor exploded in a wash of light as beams from a small submersible cut through the darkness. From the front of the ship, two large spotlights poked their way into the blackness. Smaller red and blue running lights flashed in rhythm and defined the outer contour of the craft.
An array of four circular flood lights were mounted above a large sphere that made up the crew cockpit and nearly half the size of the craft. The front half of the cockpit was a clear glass-like polymer. The two person crew could be seen inside, sitting single file, bathed in a dim blue light.
In the front pilot's seat sat an attractive young woman in her late twenties. She wears a standard blue military flight suit, with her blonde hair pulled back in a tight bun.
Behind her, is a man approximately the same age wearing glasses and a similar flight suit. He appears a bit more disheveled than the girl. His dark hair is unkempt, as if he'd just gotten out of bed, and is flight suit is unzipped halfway revealing a t-shirt that reads "DIVE NAKED: Things appear larger underwater."
He sat in a small rotating chair, currently facing the back of the craft. Around him, on nearly all sides, are an array of monitors displaying live camera feeds, system readouts and other various data.
"This is Neptune to Oceanus I.", the female reports into her ear mounted headset. "We're passing 36,000 feet and all systems remain green."
Her voice is feminine but carries a high level of authority. There is a faint hint of a southern accent in her speech.
"Roger that Neptune.", the ~Oceanus' communications officer responds over the headset. "Well Lieutenant Commander, I guess that makes it official. Put it in the books. You two are now the deepest people on the planet. Congratulations."
A small grin grows across the face of the crewman in the back seat. "See there. I always told you I was a deep person.", he says talking more toward the girl than the radio. "Now it's official. By the way, I'll be available for autographs once we get topside."
The pilot rolls her eyes and responds over the radio, "Thanks Oceanus. But you can hold the calls to Guinness for now. Seeing as the mission's classified I'm not sure advertising it would be the best idea."
"Roger that.", the radio officer returns over the headset.
The pilot punches a few buttons on the HUD and levels the ship as it skims several feet above the ocean floor. "Leveling off at 36,125 feet. Ok Steve, begin topographic scans and prep the collector for samples. Double check the cameras and make sure we're getting all this."
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Deep Blue - The DescentScience Fiction
More people have visited the moon, than have found their way to the bottom of the ocean. Test piloting the military's latest top secret assault submarine, in the most inhospitable environment on the planet, a reckless test pilot teams up with a recl...