The blackness of the abyss and the unknown hazards that it holds wouldn't sway mankind's curiosity forever. Especially when it's driven by somebody's pocketbook. Curiosity, after all, is one of the more positive virtues -- as long as you're not a cat.

On the surface, things weren't improving. We kept pushing deeper and deeper into the waters, and the deeper we went, the more interesting things we found. Need to cure your arthritis, no problem, here's some deep sea microbes that'll do the trick. Need to reduce wrinkles and speed up skin regeneration? There's a cream for that. Probably comes out the rear end of some eel. A few lab coats even claim they're gettin' close to curing Alzheimer's with a plant only found attached to one of those thermal vents conveniently located at a mere 12,000 feet.

Of course, the more we found, the more people, or nations specifically, wanted to claim as their own. For thousands of years humanity really couldn't care less about owning the oceans. It's just a bunch of water. It's really hard to build on that. But now, with all our new found miracles, presidents and Prime ministers had decided it was time to rewrite a few of those old laws. The great water grab had begun and tempers were growing shorter than our energy supplies. Borders were expanding and crossing other borders, which always means somebody's not going to be happy. As time passed, instead of learning to live together, we were inventing all new ways to screw things up.

Shafts of early morning sunlight beamed through the single window of the tiny studio-style quarters, revealing a freshly disheveled environment. Various items of clothing, both male and female, left a trail from the door to the tiny single bed; The top blanket of which, now lay strewn across the floor. The room, barren of any personal photos or effects, excluding paintings that could at best be referred to as 'hotel art', was clearly a temporary stop. The contours of the current pair of occupants were outlined by the remaining sheets on the bed.

"Nick.", a young lady's sultry voice whispered.

There was no answer from the man, who appeared to be asleep. If one had to guess, Nick would be in his early thirties. His tightly cut brown blonde hair was tangled, and a two day stubble roughened his face.

Rising up from behind the man's bare shoulder, the woman whispered playfully, "Captain Nick.", this time nibbling at his ear.

Nick smiled and rolled toward the woman with a groan.

She placed her hand along his stubbled face and kissed him with a long, slow kiss.

"Good morning Captain.", she said with a pleasant smile, and an accent on the word "captain".

The man's eyes shot open with a sudden realization. "Morning.", he replied with a hint of alarm.

Upon seeing the brightness of the room, Nick's actions took on a more frantic pace.

"What time is it?", he asked in a slight panic, while at the same time reaching over on the nearby nightstand and grabbing an analog watch.

"I don't know.", the girl replied. "I wasn't worried about..."

The time on the watch read 7:50.

"Oh crap!", Nick interrupted glancing at the watch, throwing off the covers and jumping out of bed.

The young woman sat up, barely managing to keep just enough of the sheets to cover herself.

"What's wrong?", she asked in a confused tone.

Nick grabbed a nearby tank top and threw it over his head in a single motion.

"Listen, I'm sorry.", he began as he headed to the closet door.

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