"It's so dark down here Pa! How are we supposed to see anything?" The young boy hopped from control panel to camera screen much to the irritation of the crew piloting the complaining vessel as it trolled down into the deep murk of the Atlantic. The old nuclear sub was a relic of the old war days that's been repurposed and modified for the task of busing groups of scientists for their various research. On this trip it was several biologists studying the flora and fauna of different oceanic biomes and the captain's son en route to the Bermuda Triangle to monitor how sealife is influenced by the powerful magnetic forces at work in this zone of myth and legends. The captain chortled as the young lad of ten years bounced up to his elbow.
"The cameras we have installed around the ship act as our eyes Thomas. We can navigate without them easily enough by sonar, but to 'see' anything we need the night cameras and lights so the Pens can find their beasties." He gave an ambiguous nod towards the group pouring over a map of the site the ship was heading for and discussing multiple theories to test upon arrival. The second in command sidled up near the captain with an agitated scowl that seemed permanent on his craggy face.
"I still say they're daft for wanting to go near that cursed place.."
"Why's that?" Piped Thomas, who didn't think there was much to fear in the ocean nowadays. He knew of the stories of the fabled Bermuda Triangle and the lost ships of the ages. Ever since he read '2000 Leagues' he had always wanted to go with his father on his trips and see the legendary giant squids from the tale. Now that he was finally old enough, his father decided to take him along on this tame expedition.
"You probably won't see the big squids of your stories, but their little color changing cousins are just as worthwhile to see." He had said, and he was right, Thomas was amazed sitting at one of the computer screens watching swarms of the delicate things rise from the depths each night to the surface to feed. However, he still wanted to see the great leviathans of the old tales. The man he questioned turned and leered in his attempt at a sardonic smile.
"Ah, so there's yet a tale of the Triangle you've yet to hear. Don't let the Pens tell you it isn't possible for such a beastie to survive down here, but them sperm whales aren't the only ones that snack on the giant squids." Thomas' eyes grew wide at the thought of a creature more fierce than a whale tangling with their rival squid.
"Is it a larger whale like the Big Blues?"
"Naw kid, bigger, large enough to swallow this sub like a spice pill. Beast goes by the name Hyrrashii in the local legends, and she's no whale Thomas. The tales depict her as a great demon eel with multiple mouths full of teeth like them ugly bugger fish of the trenches. Now, story tells of her origins and purpose here as a little vague, as it's unclear whether she's originally of this planet, but she's described as a Guardian of sorts."
"A Guardian of what?"
"That's where them native tales don't agree on. Some say she guards the Triangle, others say she presides over all the Deep Oceans. What they do agree on however, is that to breach her sacred territory, the land where the lost souls of the water are put to rest, would be to invoke her wrath and have her rise to drag your sorry hide down with your boat into the Deep before you knew she was there." Thomas' young mind drew up a great eel with hydra heads and horns erupting from each forehead, and it made him more excited being so far underwater in such a beast's territory.
"Do you think we'll run into her at the Triangle?"
"Naw not lokely, but it makes for a good tale. We'd probably see a buncha fish, sharks, and rays in the area, maybe a wreck or two from them wars. You'll know when we get there, the equipment will start going a little crazy in the Field."
"Our cameras are rigged to be unaffected however." One of the biologists piped up, having heard their conversation, "We should be able to see just fine."
The leader of that small group sat back and looked up at the captain, "How much farther have we got?" Her eyes were steady and very much no-nonsense, but the captain hardly blinked or missed a beat.
"With the Nautili moving at the clip she's set on, a few minutes to half an hour if we hit any large currents on the way." Thomas perked, he was finally at the doorstep of the great Bermuda Triangle, the place of birth for tales both aerial and nautical.
For the remainder of the trip the sub was in relative silence save for the mutterings of the biologists as they began to prepare their computer screens for watching the ocean floor. Several wandered to the launching bay below where the one-man observation craft were stored for use in collecting samples on trips like this. As far as Thomas knew, one team would watch the sub's cameras, and if they spot anything the second team would retrieve it in his father's little craft for studying or placing markers down to find later. Thomas looked at one of the video feeds with mild curiosity during calibration when the control screens and lights began to flicker slowly, but with growing frequency as they moved on.
"We're nearing the flux field, this is normal, but we don't want to go much further in or get lost and not be able to return to the normal world." His father's face was serious with some apprehension.
"That wasn't our agreement Mr. Posei, you told us you'd take us to our designated location." The leader looked up sharply at the Captain as Posei leveled his stern gaze on the woman.
"Aye, I told you I would take you just inside the Zone, but not further. This ship cannot handle the exposure as long as my smaller craft can, so we have to drop off the mini-subs and retreat to safer grounds." The woman didn't appear happy about this, but had no real influence on the captain's final decision concerning his ship.
"Very well then, but we have to stay in radio cont-" she was interrupted by Thomas shouting out as he was peering through the room's viewport.
"Pa! I just saw something flash by real quick! A bunch of glowing spots!" The captain sighed as the biologist frowned in frustration at the interruption.
"It was probably some squids Thomas."
"It wasn't squids Pa, I know what I saw and it didn't move like squids."
Posei glanced at one of the men manning the sonar station, "Did you pick up anything through the static?"
"Negative, I thought I saw a big.. shadow.. but it could have been a school of deepwaters.." He turned as a biologist poked his head through the door.
"You guys might want to come look, our front cameras picked up an unusual phenomenon." She glanced out the window suddenly, and Thomas almost swore he could hear, no feel, a deep rumble gently permeate the air. The adults didn't seem to notice as they filed towards the table of laptops where the biologists were clustered and focused on a recording in confusion. Thomas wormed his way in and saw the same glowing spots sliding past on the screen.
"That's what I saw!" He exclaimed excitedly.
"It could be a giant squid, too hard to tell really without the lights on." Muttered one of the adults as another went to toggle the exterior spotlights on, "Whatever it was, it's big." Seeing no profit in lingering around, the Captain turned to retreat to the pilot room until Thomas spoke.
"Hey.. Do you hear that? It's that odd sound again.."
"Probably just the hull reacting to the pressure.." Posei murmured, but he paused to listen with everyone else.
The deep rumbling had returned and steadily grew louder until it seemed to drown out the ship's engines. One of the biologists noticed something on the screen.
"Hey.. they're back.." He had to speak a little loudly before the sound faded. Everyone looked at the screen but Thomas, who raced to the front viewport in the pilot house for a firsthand look just as the glowing structures loomed into view. For several heartbeats the occupants of the Nautili watched in silence as the spots seemed to float and linger in the drifting current. Thomas began to feel that whatever he was looking at, was staring right back at the boy and the blonde hairs on his neck stood on end.
There was a soft hum before lights suddenly flared on, flooding the creature's sensitive eyes and causing it to scream in anger as its head quickly withdrew. Thomas caught a sight of a cavernous mouth of teeth and multiple squid-like eyes before it vanished. Below he heard the shouts and excited yelping of the adults as they saw the screens reveal the creature.
Breathless with fear and excitement, Thomas uttered a single word amongst the chaos of sound.
"Thomas!" Posei came into the room and found his son staring into the window.
"Pa! I think that was Hyrrashii.."
"Don't be stupid boy, she's just a legend." He growled in trepidation, taking Thomas by surprise as he'd never been addressed like that before by his normally peaceable father. Posei moved to where the controllers sat, shaken at what they saw outside.
"Turn around and head up, this ship's not fitted with torpedos since its retirement to be a glorified bus, and I'm not about to tangle with an unknown beast like that alone.."
"Belay that order!" Cried the lead biologist as she stormed into the room, "This is the find of a century and you want to turn tail and run? This might be our only chance at finding and documenting a new species!"
"If it means we all see the light of day then yes I will!" Posei thundered at the biologist, who stood stubbornly firm as the returning rumble alerted Thomas.
"It's coming back!" Heads turned and watched tensely as the toothy jaws filled their view again, followed by great eyes that tried to peer past the lights. Thomas felt that the sub was being surrounded by coils as the head withdrew to orient and gape the split jaws wide, revealing an inner jaw-like tube lines with teeth along the opening. The creature screeched again, the sound reverberating almost painfully through the ship. Suddenly the 'tongue' shot out and grazed the side of the sub, a warning shot that weakened a back plate of the hull. Posei grabbed Thomas' arm and pulled him towards the doorway as he shouted commands for an emergency surfacing.
"Another hit from that thing will do us in if it strikes the same spot." He panted as adrenaline as Thomas struggled to keep up with him down to where the mini-subs were. He pushed Thomas into one that he had trained the boy in, turning the child's head to face him.
"Thomas, I want you to stay near the sub as we go up, we'll be connected by a radio wire and air pipe so we can bring you back in if we get out of this. If we should ever become separated keep going to the surface, there's enough air in the reserve tanks to take you up, then activate your nav system and make for the nearest port once the beacon is activated. Do you understand Thomas?" The boy was trembling, and he noticed his father's hands were as well.
"We will get out of this won't we pa?" The expression on his father's face was sad as the room filled with the creature's voice again, followed by the ship shuddering from an impact as the radio on Posei's belt buzzed.
"Sir our main rudder's been damaged and we're taking on water!"
"Keep rising to the surface and get everyone ready to evacuate if we need to, seal off the damaged area!"
"Aye sir!" Posei looked up to the child who watched him with wide tearful eyes.
"We'll do our best son, but if the worst should happen, be good to your momma alright?"
"Yes Pa.." He choked as he struggled to keep an adult appearance in front of his father as Posei patted his arm and triggered the hatch to close.
"Remember, keep going for the surface if we get separated.." the captain walked to a control panel for the water doors and the track the craft was resting on after making sure the doors into the bay were shut for launch.
The last view Thomas had of his father was as he sunk into the water staring up at the tear-streaked face of Posei before the heavy doors closed. Around him he could see the spotted body of the leviathan as it kept pace with the stricken sub struggling to rise to the surface. Thomas quickly turned on familiar controls and maneuvered the little craft above and to the side of the Nautili, where he could watch over his father.
He could just make out movement inside before the massive second jaws shot out to latch around the middle of the sub with a muted CRUNK, and began to pull the distressed craft and its occupants into the main jaws. Thomas watched in horror before a sharp jerk brought him into reality that he was still connected to the main ship and being dragged in. Frantically he searched for the release and then grabbed the lever, gritting his teeth and screwing his eyes shut before jerking it up.
Freed of its restraints, the craft jolted and tilted violently before stabilizing and resuming its ascent as the reserve air system automatically kicked in. Thomas curled in his seat and burrowed his head in his arms as the foreboding sound of shrieking metal ripping apart and the WHUMP of the reactor exploding jolted and rattled the craft and his head.
In the following silence he thought he heard the creature coming for him and he looked out of the ports in panic, but saw nothing. The camera oriented down showed him the long body of the beast disappearing into the deep until he could no longer see the biolume spotting in the velvet darkness.
Thomas did not know when his grieving turned to sleep, but his sub kept its steady and controlled ascent through the silent waters until it bobbed gently at the surface, the air system switching to filtration and refilling the tanks. By the time the craft reached the surface, it had been carried well out of the flux a good distance by several minor currents that snagged the vehicle as it passed through them, leaving the boy to his silent rocking sleep until the pale dawn crept over the horizon.
Whoouufffff... This was an interesting experiment in redrawing this old image
without retracting from the original intent of the mood.
Of all the images I felt this one would be one of the ones to show the most advancement in style. Hell.. the old image was drawn on a big old bristol board with sharpies in high school FOUR YEARS AGO XP
THIS TIME Hyrrashii isn't an eyeglaring mass of glowing spots and tendrils and is a lot more concrete in design.
I know this is kicking a dead horse around but the patterning and eye arrangement/pupil shape were not inspired by Avatar (James Cameron) and its denziens, but pulled off of the old design where there were spots along her head, and from a video of the eel boss from Ecco the Dolphin being made and worked on served as a guide on how to approach her stripes and patches. The eyes themselves are a mix of squid and eel - look them up they DO have those pupils >
There was a lot of subtle work done on her that's lost in the atmospheric depths of the ocean that I may upload the flats so you can see her colors in all their glory <_<
I also want to note that the stripes on her belly glow slightly, but when she surfaces in all her colorful glory (one of the reasons I made her read instead of say blue or green - it's the shortest wavelength color and the first to disappear, so it's as effective if not moreso than blue when diving down. That way when she comes to the surface she'd be a brilliantly colored beastie worthy of native folklore) they are as black as her back stripes.
Interesting trivia is that Hyrrashii is one of my few characters that are larger than my others, rivaled only by Gremal herself (who needs a serious update >_>).
Hyrrashii and art(c) ME