poseidon's million crowns

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  • 8/7/2019 Poseidon's Million Crowns


    Poseidons Million Crowns

    By Bryan Brown

    Hunters and Gatherers

    September 4, 2010

    I found myself in a room made entirely of glass. Thefloors below were of the same opaque crystal as the walls all

    around, which bent upward to form the domed ceiling of thechamber. It was this same extraordinary material that

    comprised the surface on which I rested. I was elevated, as if

    on a stretcher, a few feet off of the ground.

    The room was lit by fuzzily glowing masses of greenand blue-white that appeared to be embedded within the glass.In the regions where the glass faded to transparency, there was

    nothing to be seen beyond my prison but darkness.

    I could not discern where I was, where I had beenbeforeif I was dead or alive. However even such immense

    questions and fears could not overshadow my aestheticexperience: the miraculous sensation of awakening in this

    sanctuary of silent thoughts, floating through a sea of darknothingness.

    12,572 B.C.E.

    The morning was cloudy and a cold rain descended

    lazily upon the hunters. The coldest and darkest days of the

    year had recently passed, and everywhere snow and ice wasturning into tiny streams that cut miniature canyons in the tan,

    dusty dirt at their feet. They were heading for an open meadow

    right next to the coast. As the men stomped through the forestof pines, all were hopeful of what they would find when they

    reached the clearing.

    The meadow was the first of its kind to have its snow

    melt away each year, as the salty breezes anxiously catalyzedthe arrival of spring. The nomads knew this, and had beenreturning to this area for the past three years.

    While at the moment their brown, wooly animal peltswere beginning to accumulate perspiration against their

    shoulders and backs, they remembered the all too recent feeling

    of being too hungry to warm their own bodies. They wished tonever feel that again, and this was the spirit with which they

    now sought their giant prey.Some of them noticed the sounds of the forest. The

    birds migrated north in this season, and their chatter wasprivately welcomed by each of the men of this clime.The hunter in frontone of the eldest among them

    felt the rain grow stronger. Then he looked up from the groundwhere he had been watching his step, and realized that the

    woods were thinning; they had reached the edge.Even with the sparseness of tree cover accounted for,

    the rains were unquestionably heavier. The falling drops almost

    prevented the men from spotting the grazing megafauna in thedistance. At once they extinguished their conversations, and

    began to draw upon the years of experience residing in theirminds. Trial and error would be the hunters compass as they

    ran out into the rain to kill a mammoth.

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    April 21, 2010

    Cephalopoda. Break it down into its roots and you get

    head and foot. And thats pretty much all there is to them: alarge head with two eyes, and a bunch of highly dexterousfeet.

    What a great excuse to get somewhere warm,I thought.When they had asked me to speak to the University of

    Miamis marine biology students, they had basically told me to

    just come up with something interesting and pick a date.So a simple name simple explanation theyre

    just marine invertebrates do we have a simple, dumborganism on our hands?

    I decided to make a little personal vacation out of italittle bit of alone timesolitary play, if you will, as has beenobserved in the octopus.

    Of course notI would be out of a job.From my doctoral thesis onward, I had dedicated my

    life to the study of squid behaviora very small facet of thisfield in fact. But these kids would be getting plenty of exposure

    to boring PowerPoints about tiny little facets of research. Not

    today, damn it! I wanted them to at least remember me.

    July 4, 1937

    [From the research log of Rudyard Glassmith:specimen: unidentified man-made flying craftinitial write-up

    Notes: Vessel contains wings indicative of an airbornemachine. Contains twin rotating blade apparatus, common of

    recent specimens. Under-wing contains the following symbols:

    N R | 6 0 2 0

    Hydrodynamics testing indicates pressure-disparity lift methodinherent in wing shapeconsistent with other artifacts.

    Organic specimens: Two.

    1. Male:

    Hair: darkSkin: light

    identifying symbols:

    N o o n a n

    N O O N A N

    2. Female:Hair: light

    Skin: Light

    identifying symbols:

    E A R H A R T

    E a r h a r t

    These symbols found in this sequence most prevalently

    and specifically on male and females belongings, respectively.Interchangeability of big and small symbol forms is

    consistent with many previously documented specimens.

    All complex symbol-rich artifacts to be sent to


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  • 8/7/2019 Poseidon's Million Crowns


    came from the calf, which was now reluctantly distancing itselffrom its mother. It was heading towards the remainder of the

    herd in a frightened scamper, its head turned back to its


    Another spear landed in her hindquarters. A third in herthroat finally brought her slowly and inevitably towards theground. When the mammoth was down, only one young hunter

    ran over to the squashed human. The damage to the man wasmostly internal; the rain washed away any external bleeding

    faster than it was being produced. The rest of the men went

    over to carry out the motions of putting the mother beast out ofher misery.

    The mourning young hunter was the first to notice whathappened next, since he had been looking out at the water in

    sadness at the opportune moment. The rest of the heads did notturn until after the great noise.A massive whale breeched the ocean surface closer to

    shore than any of them had ever seen. It let out a strange,otherworldly cry, and just as it returned to the water, it was

    impaled by a most unfamiliar object.The thing that came out of the whale near its blowhole

    was entirely transparent, other than the blood that ran from its

    tip. It had texture, and varied thickness, as though fashionedand ornamented from a massive icicle. It was more intricate in

    decoration than anything the hunters could have dreamed of inthree lifetimes.

    They watched as this great crystal lance slid back out of

    the dying creature and back into the black water. As the whaledescended slowly, the hunters did not believe their eyes, and

    some proceeded to rub at their faces. All around the whale wasa brightening glow of green and blue, expanding from the

    center out of nothing just below the waters surface. Thenalmost a dozen bobbing, pulsing objects, each topped with a

    number of prongs coated by dark, wet skin, breeched thesurface and bobbed in the glowing, nacent waves. After a long

    silent moment, during which the hunters were overwhelmingly

    puzzled, the domes submerged once more. Soon after, the

    magical glow was gone, and the ocean returned to its dailybusiness of reflecting the dark, grey sky.The men all stood there for a while, not speaking a

    word to one another. They continued to stare at the spot wherethey saw this alien event, hoping that if they squinted hard

    enough the magic would come back. However, it never did,

    and so they finally continued the arduous task of cutting intothe mammoth, preparing its meat for the long hike back to


    April 21, 2010

    for the Humbolt Squid, a species in whichresearchers now have witnessed remarkable examples of

    cooperative hunting, on a level unparalleled amonginvertebrates

    Journeys of Enlightenment

    March 20, 1917

    then I think our choice has been made for us. I seeno other way.

    Her feeling of defeat was written all over her.I have watched this community flourish since I took

    this position eight years ago, and even before then as I grew up

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    here. This new age of sub-marine warfare that they startedhas nothing to do with us, and yet we seem to suffer most.

    Their conflicts have starved our community! Severed us from

    sustainability! Compromised your safety!

    Despite our shared outrage, I ask you allmy citizensto join me in continuing to comply with our passiveapproach at this time. Let me remind everyone that a

    disorganized, unplanned retaliation would only provoke globaldisaster. We, in the spirit of our ancestors, will find our

    greatness in patience, and our actions through reason. Come

    now, children of this land, join me. Take all that you can of thisplace before our exile. Approaching fast is the time that we all

    must journey into the darkness

    April 21, 2010

    I took a breath. It was a good spot for discussion if anywas needed. Now to find that brave soul

    Yes, a question! Red shirt.Yeah hi-uh so maybe this is a dumb question but

    um so like you were saying how cephalopods have all these

    pieces of intelligenceso why didnt they ever evolve to beintelligent like us, if it woulda been beneficial?

    June 9, 1549

    9th of June, 1549-

    Today marks thirty days at sea, and we are deep in the heart ofthe Atlantic. All around my crew and myself lies nothing but

    blue horizons. Also there are the endless skies, constantly

    determining our fate. Tonight is a clear night. The stars areprecisely where we had left them a few days ago. May I even

    have the pleasure of reporting that the wind has been very

    much in our favor all day? Indeed it has been so. Any one of

    these long days may mark the halfway point of our voyage.A new home is over there somewhereup and around

    the earths belly, over which ships seem to sink beforevanishing into a new world.

    I believe I understand now why God gives us this

    treacherous gap of sea to cross: He wishes to ensure that oncewe land at our new destination, we will never take it for

    granted. We will gladly devote our labor, and reap from thesoils all of the awaiting bounties, so ours for the taking. Just as

    I now look out across limitless blue, so there I shall findceaseless green, rolling onward as far as I may ever please.

    April 21, 2010

    Hmm ok sure. First of allnot a dumb question. Alot of the benefit of studying other organisms displaying

    intelligence is to use them in a comparative contextmeasurethem up against humans. Thats where some of the coolest

    learning happens. And relevance to humans often wins you

    more grant money.To give you a more concrete answer, one thing they

    dont have going for them is life span. Even these smartoctopuses often have a lifespan of about two years or so. This

    means less time to learn and build upon knowledge and then

    you also lose that key component of parental care. Humans,and elephants for that matter, spend a lot of time raising their

    young, which works nicely with an animal needing lots ofcognitive development.

    And then finally remember that for any adaptation,there has to be a selective pressure for it. Evolution itself has

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    no goal. Octopuses and squids think and communicate to theextent that they need to survive. Anything more is a waste of

    energy so yeah thanks for the question! Anyone else?

    Alrightymoving on.

    May 27, 1917

    The exile was massive, epic, and devastating. Every so

    often they would turn around to see behind them, their great

    metropolis shrinking into distance and blurred behind a haze ofdestruction. And this was only that which stood erect above

    ground! The last of the city were back there, with the job ofdestroying ittearing it all down. Centuries of history now had

    to be removed without a trace. Everywhere glass was beingshattered. The great spires of our proudest constructions nowslid down in fragments against their neighbors. It seemed to

    take ages for these to hit the ground. The citys glow was beingextinguished rapidly, as each little point of light was surely

    being ripped open, its contents freed. The scene was as great anexample as any of entropys constant yearning for chaos and

    nothingness in the universe.

    The exiles carried all that they could: family artifactsand records, some handy tools and devices. Most of the items

    they carried were of native design; only a few participants ofthe pilgrimage could bear to use those of foreign origin


    Throughout the crowd, each of them echoed the samemantra of the historic moment: now is the time that we all mustjourney into the darkness.

    April 21, 2010

    the discovery of the giant axon in the 1930sthatsa great example of my point. Here was a zoologist checking outsquids, and he ends up discovering this model system that

    would get the ball rolling for our entire knowledge basis ofneurophysiology! ...

    June 13, 1549

    13th of June, 1549-

    Tragedy has stricken us mercilessly. One evening past, justafter sunset, the most horrific of things occurred. The orange-

    red glow of the sun had been reaching its final cadence when anew light appeared, this one from below. It was as if the bluish

    white moon was ascending from the depths below our ship. My

    crew, captivated and intrigued, leaned over the sides, staringdown into the growing soup of color. There was no clear

    source of this lightno solid objects below the surface toidentify.

    Then, just as a few of the mens eyes actually yieldedtears in the presence of such beautythats how foreign and

    spectacular it was!thats when the killing began. Other

    reports of a kraken must have surely been by day, for bynightfall its luminosity was the sole quality that measured up to

    its rage. On all sides of the ship, thick, wet tentacles begangripping onto my crewmen. I had safely been at the center of

    deck, left vulnerable only to witnessing the terrible events as

    they unfolded.The kraken did not seem interested in sinking our ship

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    as in other stories either. It had a very specific hunger for live

    human flesh. And I am quite certain it had no trouble getting it.

    Most curiously, the tentaclesof which there weredozens!must have been covered with a strange exoskeleton,

    for in the dimness of the evening I swore I could see tentaclesseeming as if clad with tools and weapons (a material to me

    appearing as something like glass?) surrounding and

    armoring many of the sucker-clad appendages. Each of theserigid shapes that the kraken revealed seemed more ideal for

    doing terrible things to a man than the previous. Oh whywould God create such vile way for man to suffer?

    Only myself and three among my crew survived. Therehad been no fightno glorious battle. We that were spared

    had been the most passive, perhaps not vital enough to be

    deemed palatable by the hungry monster. No battleonlyscreams. Still repeating in my mind, more than the blood and

    the struggle of my crewmen is the eerie silence that overcamethe scene the instant the screaming men had been pulled

    under. All this violence, and then nothingjust that blue-white

    lightsurely from this great krakens bodydescending slowlyback to the depths. I retain guilt to this moment now about how

    I selfishly had wondered how long the seabeast would remainsated from his meal.

    Damage to the vessel was not extreme for as I toldyou the thing had no intention of sinking the ship! But it will be

    a hell of a time for four men to handle. At first I worried about

    how none will believe our story when we arrivehow they willshrug us off, and tell the others that the time at sea had driven

    us mad. Now I dont care about that. I just want to be on dryland. I understand now in full that dry land is where human

    beings belong. I daresay when I get to my destination I will

    even avoid the puddles.

    It is true that mankind seeks to conquer the globeto

    know and own all the lands there are to be had. But there is a

    part of this earth we should dare not challenge. Whoever mayread this one day, hear me now:

    No man may claim jurisdiction over the infinite seas.

    April 21, 2010

    The rental car had a superb new car smell. Theressomething about running the AC in Floridathe nice

    dampness still gets in a little. I thought the speech went prettywell, and now I could relaxhave some me timefor the

    rest of the weekend. I turned on the complimentary satelliteradio, hoping to hear the classic rock I had heard on the wayover to the university. Instead, I heard the news for the first

    time since I had gotten to Florida.the explosion, eleven crew members that had been

    working aboard the rig are still being reported as missing.British Petroleum CEO Tony Hayward has assured the public

    that all efforts to find the missing workers are beingimplemented, as they also look to discover what exactly went

    wrong yesterday evening at the rig

    What had I missed? Some oil spill? No not a spilla rigexploded. Wouldnt that make a spill? I imagined the

    Caribbean Reef Squids nearby. One squid in the middle of two

    others. It would be saying to one squid yeah that lunch todaywas quite delectable. No oil or grease on it. and then he

    would be simultaneously saying to the other squid on his otherside, Dude did you feel that boom? What the fuck was that?!

    I sighed out loud. I needed a girlfriend.

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    Nov 9, 1979

    allow that this pollution get even more out of hand.

    Human civilization marches onward and it feels like we arerolling in filth.Darlene Mantlebach could hold on to old values no

    longer. She would implement policies that would appease thegrievances of the masses, not to mention her own.

    I hereby approve the plan put forth by Mr. Glassmith

    and his associates: a new wave of intensive study of planetaryhuman impact. We will not be held back by the citation of

    ideological rhetoric or bureaucratic red tape; we willmoveforward

    September 4, 2010

    I found myself in a room made entirely of glass.

    May 15, 2010

    Welcome Mr. Hayward. Please sit down.Thank you Gary.Eeahh This better be good.

    Well, good wouldnt be the word I would use, sir.More like, interesting andehpotentially important.

    Alright, alright. Lets see what youve got for me.

    Right then. I think we can hand it right over to thehead of our camera specialist team. Fred?

    Thank you, Gary. And thankyou, Mr. Hayward fortaking the time.Ahem. You know what Im just gonna skip

    right tothis picture. What does that look like to youanybody?

    I guess its like a T-rex took a chomp out of it orsomething.

    Thank you for that contribution Dr. SherwoodIm

    quite thrilled we hired you for that insight.

    Well actually Gary hes sort of on the right track.These punctures are not indicative of a pressure-induced burstfrom the inside. They look much more like something smashed

    these holes into the pipe from the outside.Closer analysis of the damages led our team to believe

    most intriguingly, and I think youll quite agree sirthat it

    was not some single collision with some object that did this.Instead its as though a multitude of weaker blows culminated

    in these punctures. Look hereall around the edges of thebreakage points are other contact points. You can really--

    Contact with, um, what exactly? Not sure Im

    following.Well Im quite sure we dont know. Mr. Hayward, and

    members of the board, I stand before you risking my head bytelling you that we do not have the answer, and that we instead

    have a true mystery of science here.Which is why I suggested we need a full range of

    investigations into this. This could have been natural causes,

    which could help to exonerate us. Or it could somehow shownew evidence against us. We need to be the ones controlling

    the info Mr. Hayward?Yes I agree. Mr. ehh

    Doctor, sir Dr. Miller. Freds fine too.

    Right um whatever you think is best to investigatethis, work up a report, tell us what you need. Jerry, in the

    meantime, can we spin things enough to keep this quiet untilwe know how it will affect BPs image?

    Absolutely sir, we got some great new stocks offootage of that same oil plume flowing up. That should keep

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    the public happy--or rather, content enough.Yeah, that and the greased up pelicans.


    October 16, 1920

    At the bottom level of their luxurious home, Sylvia

    Glow guides her only daughter through a labyrinth that sheherself has designed. Written along the walls is all the

    information Sylvias daughter will ever need about her lifehistory, as well as the history of her civilization. They pass

    through it together very slowly, as her daughter has a great deal

    of work to do.The diplomats daughter is now half as tall as she.

    Already the youngster is promising to be as brilliant as hermother. Sylvia Glow is satisfied with the rate at which her

    daughter scans the labyrinth walls, committing every inscribedfact to memory. And there is certainly a great deal. As a leader

    of many, Glow believes, one must understand that a single

    events causes are as diverse and ancient as its effects arenumerous and perennial.

    401,735,902 B.C.E.

    The proto-Cepheran genus diverges from that of squids,

    octopuses, and cuttlefish.

    Nov 9, 1979

    For those of you less familiar, Neil Glassmiths

    lineage has been devoted to anthropologic work for dozens of


    351,243,776 B.C.E.

    The archaic proto-Cepherans are the apex of their

    pelagic ecosystem. They are intelligent and social. Theirlifespan is still only about three years long, and their clutches

    of eggs are still large.

    Nov 9, 1979

    and in Glassmiths trustworthy hands, I will herebyallow the taking of a number of human specimens. This

    number will be limited, regulated, and consistently monitoredand reviewed. Glassmith and his team have already assured me

    that their gas-bubble technology has been determined suitable

    for safe containment of live human specimens. We have, infact, been sure of this for some time.

    Darlene paused for the telegraph to catch up.

    67,162,022 B.C.E.

    The Cepherans are social now, as competition for preyhas led them to form nomadic hunting clans. A clan could be

    spread over a few cubic kilometers of ocean at any given time.To accommodate their complex, highly distributed hunting

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    style, they have developed a new addition to their languagebased on long-range detection of powerful beak clicks. Other

    than these clicks, the Cepherans go days without sensing much

    of anything in the open oceanic void.

    Nov 9, 1979

    also, in conjunction with these new policies will be

    a new step in our globalization and unification. I speak, of

    course, about the implementation of the long awaited deepchannel passage across the Shallowcross Range. At last, we

    will have a warm zone crossing point between the two greatestregions of our civilization. We will use the faults and ridges

    already inhabited as the major starting points

    64,778,292 B.C.E.

    A clan is starving. Many of the old-time creatures

    they used to hunt have been long extinct, living on only in the

    legends and stories passed on down the lines. Off in thedistance they hear the click patterns of another clan.

    There is no room for compromise. None for peace. Theproactive, practical approach is the only one they have known

    for generations. No room in their calculating minds for

    compromise, and plenty of room in their guts for food.

    Nov 9, 1979

    will begin as a system of intersecting tunnels, too

    deep to be detected by the creatures above. Over time, weexpect that it will grow naturally and gradually, both in girth

    and complexity, based on our needs

    25,991,031 B.C.E.

    A community of Cepherans grows in a deepridge at the bottom of the oceanic abyss. The heat from

    volcanic activity near a fault line is their life source. Stretched

    across the sand flats are rows of algaes, slimes, bivalves, andworms that have been planted there and cared for by Cepheran

    farmers. Even organisms from the shallow seas can now besustained in the depths through millennia of selective breeding

    and aquacultural innovations.

    The raids by migrant clans have been discouraged inrecent years, thanks to the Cepherans greatest technology:

    glass. It was discovered some years ago that collected sandyminerals, encased in an organic slime, could be passed over a

    heat source and quickly melted and re-solidified into glass of adesired shape and form. The cannibalistic nomads have been

    helpless against the spines, blades, and armor of the settlers

    ever since.

    Nov 9, 1979

    more than ever, our civilization will be as one. The

    Southwaters and the Firebelts, the Ridgelands and Abyssinalswe will share all of the same triumphs and tragedies

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    125,574 B.C.E.

    The sea is dotted with Cepheran city-states. From the

    deepest depths to some coastal outposts, their cities are marked

    with elaborate ornamental spires of stone and glass. The glassitself is of varied colors. However a human eye would not havebeen able to distinguish these well, for they would have been

    greatly overshadowed by the brilliant glow of bioluminescencethat the cities emitted.

    May 27, 1917

    The exile was massive, epic, and devastating.

    Every so often they would turn around to look back, their great

    metropolis shrinking into distance and blurring behind a hazeof destruction. And this was only that which stood erect above


    125,574 B.C.E.

    The selective cultivation of bioluminescent organisms,

    both motile and sedentary, has been one of the greatestachievements and finest arts of their society. It was a limitless

    variety of color, brightness, time cycles; they have isolated thestimuli that turn the lights on and offeven make them blink

    and twinkle. While the Cepherans were initially well adapted

    for dark water sight, the finer tasks of their new metropolisesrequired such specific illumination.

    Other light displays were arranged to emulate thechromatophore-based communication of the Cepherans, while

    still others were purely for creative expression. In this goldenage, the Cepheranstentacled and brilliantproduced poems

    out of color and light.

    June 1, 1917

    Ms. Glow. Welcome to the Ridgeland Metropolis. Iamso sorry for your loss. Dierdre Mantlebach was sincere

    in her sympathy (Sylvia Glow had a keen eye for that sort ofthing).

    Thank you. So are we. We of course cannot thank you

    enough forPlease, dont even. Your city was a great one, and

    therefore I assume it was comprised of talented, competentmembers. Ms. Glow, I will see to it that the crafts of as many

    lineages as possible are preserved, even at the risk of

    redundancy.That will surely mean a lot to all of them.

    Meanwhile, on her left side, Mantlebach had beeninstructing and questioning her cabinet of powerful females on

    handling housing for the refugees. Sylvia used the free face ofher mantle to produce a static gratitude display to the cabinet

    members while continuing her conversation with the Prime

    Minister of the Ridgeland. When all conversation had reachedconclusion, Mantlebach glowed red, and all present cracked a

    unified farewell with large beaks.

    Boundaries and Limits

    September 2, 2010

    How did I end up being so lucky as to get two working

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    vacations in the same year? I was surprised my name wasstarting to really get out there as an expert.

    I did a backwards roll off the side of the boat, my large

    flippers following. As I adjusted to the variety of temperatures

    mixing between my body and the water, I watched theremaining team members jump in as well.Then again maybe the people who hired me just

    thought I was enough of a sucker to do take this gig withoutmore information. All I knew was that they would pay me a

    whole bunch of money to take a look at something deep in the

    Caribbean, give my opinion if I had any, and walk awaywithout asking any questions.

    It was shady, yes, but I dont think these people werecriminals. They seemed normal enough, clean enough

    professional enough?

    The interesting thing was the type of crew they had onthe team: me, the witty and handsome teuthologist, a shark guy

    who had done the whole shark cage thing back in his hayday,an aquageologist (or whatever else you call them), and a couple

    engineers and some others I didnt even get the chance to meet.From what I had gathered there had been some previous dive,

    but they now needed all of our thoughts on the subject.

    August 10, 1945

    Word has arrived from Big Ocean 4. Humans nowwield a great power, on a level unparalleled in our world. In the

    midst of their ceaseless fighting and exploitation of all that theearth has bequeathed upon them, they learned to produce a

    blast that indiscriminately destroys plant, animal and algae;city and farm; mother, father, and child.

    The human species is so young, and yet in theirtemperate, terrestrial sanctuaries they wish to harness powers

    far beyond their control. There may come a day unfortunately

    soon, upon which we can no longer stand idly by in the shadow

    of these barbarians.Any remaining differences between the greatCepheran cities must be put aside. We have a common threat,

    so very near, against which we all must unite.Dora Mantlebach hovered in the spherical balcony of

    her office, looking out at the glowing city. The

    communications specialist left with a click, out the stone-linedcircular porthole. Not too far off, Ralph Glassmith and Bernard

    Lavaman were working in an air-containment chamber madeentirely of glass. Inside, they had been dissecting a human-

    made machine larger than themselves for days. The machine

    had wheels and was filled with gears and rotating mechanismssimilar to the hydraulic-flow systems that powered and

    syncronized the city.By the looks of the grey smoke filling their chamber,

    they had gotten its power source running. Light blue specklesexpanded into large blobs on Dora Mantlebachs skin as she

    watched pensively and worried about their safety.

    September 2, 2010

    The pipe was massive. The guide pointed tolarge gashes in the metal, and then made a silly (I thought so)

    shrugging gesture, implying that we should figure out what thestory was. I went over briefly, then swam away.

    Even with this being underwater and all, did they reallyneed a squid specialist here? I guess if thats how they wanted

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    me to think, I would. A big octopus will try all kinds ofstrategies to get into a clam. But not to get into a pipe

    And so it was settled: I was useless. For the rest of the

    time, I swam around the area, spotting some shrimps and sea

    urchins on the seafloor.When we resurfaced, we sat around exploring thepossibilities. On the sleek white deck of the luxurious boat, all

    of the experts were sitting around a circle on chairs, coolersand buckets. The men who had hired us stood around us on the

    periphery, quietly writing into clipboards as we suggested

    ideas.Natural forms of corrosion were discussed, and the

    possibility of a confused shark was bounced around. Even theslow work of long-spined sea urchins was considered.

    The people in charge seemed disappointed, but not

    surprised. When the conversation died by natural causes, oneof the standing men told us that we had to check one more site,

    a few miles out.

    February 29, 2016

    If I hadnt measured it myself, I couldnt haveimagined the amount of power they waste in a dayright

    through this one cable here. All we have to do is tap into thelines for a short while, and before they know what has

    happened we will be long gone with enough electrolyzed fuel

    to push ourselves way ahead of schedule.Indeed. Off of their feeble backs we will propel

    ourselves to new heights.

    September 2, 2010

    Apparently the previous mission had resulted in some

    strange readings from this other site. How anything so far

    away could be relevant towell, whatever that first thing

    was...I had no idea.And so, motivated by large amounts of off-the-bookspay, I dived in once more. This site was a deeper one. On the

    boatride over, they had given us the usual lecture about takingyour time in your descent and ascent.

    After about fifteen minutes in the water, we were so

    deep that hardly any light still penetrated from the surface. Theyellow lights on each scuba suit were the only indication of my

    colleagues whereabouts.I started getting antsy. It had been years since I had

    done any serious diving. I started to notice all of the itches I

    couldnt reach, and I started to think how the air I wasbreathing had been sitting in a tank of metal for God knows

    how long.My mind was finally removed from all of these

    concerns when I saw something I could not explain. Off to theright and below where we all bobbed, the faintest light began to

    glow. Then behind us. And to the left. The light came from no

    one source, but rather from all around, as if every molecule ofwater had spontaneously ignited. It was mesmerizing. I dont

    recall what I did with my bodyI must have been frozen. I didnot swim towards or away from the light, from the surface or

    the bottom.

    That was when I sustained a sharp blow to the back ofthe head. Then something like a giant leathery rope rapped

    around my torso. Next there was a sharp pinch in the precisecenter of my spine, as I was simultaneously pulled backwards

    by the giant coils. And with that I was conscious no longer.

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    November 9, 1989

    Humans do not deserve the benefit of the doubt. Theydo not deserve our voluntarily vulnerability. Youve studied

    them Ronaldyoure of the Glassmith lineage afterall!howdo you think this will play out? You know if it were me Id

    be sending explosives up in those rockets instead of ourtalented citizens. May I remind you we still have Twenty-nine

    years to change our minds.

    I am aware of your stance, Bigsucker. I understandthat human fear may drive them to a militant response, and that

    is why I am asking for your expertise. But we have to try tomake coexistence work! With all due respect Ms. Glow,

    soon this settlement will be too large to exist without human

    contact. Whether it be militant or peaceful, we simply cannotprogress naturally with continued secrecy, and that is an

    empirical fact.I am aware of your stance, Mr. Bigsucker. We must

    avoid confrontation at all costs. This planet is so small. Thecabinet of the Southwaters says they can hold out at least

    another few decades.

    And you ask how it will play out? It will play out withhuman cities underwater and cepheran cities above. And

    together we will travel to other worlds, where we will recreatethe utopias of the old stories together.

    Too small. No room for everyone. The reason they

    are in fact old stories is because the idealists who passedthose fables along left out how they ended: human regression

    to barbarism.Well Im sorry Norton but on this issue we are going

    with Glassmiths pitch. You will assist him however he asks.However, you are still in charge of the East-half

    Administration for the Shallowcross Channel, whichOh please--the channel. The day when that becomes a

    worthwhile job will be the one when I sink the isthmus into the

    water and really start drawing some attention from above.Well Sharon Id say bide our time. Our team is now

    so efficient at analyzing and retrofitting human technology thatit practically becomes our own technology by the time we are

    done with it. Every time humans make a discovery after yearsof effort, we crack it and catch up in a day. Then we adapt it to

    our needs in the following two. Staying the course as long as

    possible They have evolved though. All the researchpoints to

    I really miss the days when the Glassmith team justretrofitted sunken human vehicles

    But havent you even said Ronald, that these days a lot

    of the technology we pick up from them we cant even usebecause they would detect it?

    And we didnt try to make presumptions that humanswere alright but just a little slow. Thats right Sharon,

    what you said to Norton. Even the humans he keeps in thosetanks tell him all the time how the way we communicate long

    distance is a method that they havent used in decades!

    Well yes that is true. We can safely test everything,but there are some things that we cant implement on a

    widespread scale because of our secrecy. Yes I have to admitthat is true.

    And what of the linguistic studies? Decades in the

    workshow prepared are we to interact directly with them?You mind your mantle Bigsucker.

    Yes of course Ms. Glow. Anyway, I actually must begoing. Farewell. If youll excuse me, I have a tunnel of

    cowardice to preside over. Crack.I am happy to report that we have up-and-coming

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    scholars, young male and female cepherans, who will beprepared at moments notice to speak to any human who speaks

    one of the most common four languages, may they be civilian

    or leader.Thats good news. Hopefully they wont be hired to

    apologize for Bigsuckers behavior in our lifetimes.Indeedlet us hope not.



    October 3, 1991

    Hey how long til touch down?Were about an hour out.

    This really was a sweet gigtoo good to be true,really.

    Yep, Im gonna miss these islands. Look at that- everysingle one we go over looks like it would have nicer beaches

    than the one before it.Yeah but only if youre into chasing local tail.

    Are you guys gonna kiss or what?

    Fuck off, Jose. I was just sayin this was a pretty nicedeal we had goin for a while.

    Whatever man if you guys are into thatwhathappens in the Bahamas stays in the Bahamas man. You guys

    wanna come back here n settle down or some shit drinkin

    drinks with the little umbrellas in emGuys shut uplook at this.

    What the fuck?Both of these things just started spinning and not

    making any sense.

    You try hitting the thing?Actually yeah. Mmmthings a piece of shit.

    So can we just fly straight for a while?

    I guess soAh shit not if that cloud covers rollingin.

    November 9, 2014

    Manuel felt dirty. He had been working in the shipyard

    all morning, under a humid tropical sun. To make things worse,he spent most of that time on a giant plot of concrete and steel.

    His thin white T-shirt was usually loose, but at the moment wassticking to his torso to form itchy convolutions. At the moment

    he was on break, but watching over the yard while the other

    guys went on a supply run.He looked out at the water, the great mouth of the

    Panama Canal, hoping that just looking at it hard enoughwould start to feel like he was swimming in it. One old

    mammoth ship was now lazily coasting by, blocking Manuelsview of blue water with that of more rusted steel. He was so

    hot that he took the boats inconsideration as a personal

    offense.He looked down at his forearms, where new red

    sunburn was forming under the pre-existing tan. He was dyingto take a swim. The last guy who tried it got caught and was

    fired six months ago. His mother, with whom he still lived,

    would have his head if he lost this job. Manuel thought tohimself how the boss should just let the men swim a little to

    boost morale.He looked out at the water again longingly. He

    imagined himself floating out there, bobbing in the big slowwake of the enormous and rusty ship. He lazily daydreamed

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    about whether he would have jumped in with his shirt on.No,he thought, there would be nothing on my chest but my

    crucifix. I would be totally free.

    Manuel had recently begun to take his role insupporting his mother, sister, and cousins more seriously. He

    had even become a churchgoer of late. On recent days as longand hot as this, he had learned to use his piety as a source of

    strength; he often found himself silently asking God to find acreative way to cool him off somehow.

    Manuel noticed how the water grew choppytoo

    choppy to be the result of only the boat wake. Had his prayersbeen answered? Perhaps a breeze was coming through, and

    soon mist would spray in his face.Within a few seconds of this realization, Manuel was

    startled out of his contemplation when he felt the ground

    rumble beneath his bottom. He rose from the stack of beams onwhich he had been reclining.

    Boom. A bigger rumble, and longer lasting.Manuel heard the sound of metal piping clanking to the

    floor in a nearby warehouse to his right. Despite his fear andconfusion, he could not run anywhere, for there was no way of

    knowing the threats source.

    Seemingly within the time it took for Manuel to lookaway and back again, a blanket of white caps had been pulled

    over the mouth of the canal. Seawater was now flowing inlandat an ever-increasing rate.Awfully dry, abrasive noises made

    Manuel cringe; the old ships that were moored at the docks

    were all scraping against their pilings and bulkheads.His entireworld was shaking; everything that was once constant was now

    so profoundly dynamic.When the great bridge in the distance started going

    down, Manuel could have sworn he could hear the suspensioncables snapping, but surely he was too far away. He was likely

    imposing the sound of rubber band snaps onto the scene beforehim, since this was how his brain perceived the structures

    sudden fragility. That old link between continents was being

    ripped and warped and twisted until it was mostly underwater.What was still visible could not be called a bridge at all.

    Distant buildings could be heard crumbing on all sidesof him now. He remembered his family then, but his effort to

    keep his balance as he backed away from the encroachingwater stubbornly returned him to concerns of self-preservation.

    Manuels panic was briefly interrupted by the triumph when he

    spotted a white and blue research-style boat tied up nearby.Swiftly, he had made his decision: he would try his luck in the

    water, rather than risk the destruction on land.

    March 28, 1470

    Thank you for coming up so shallow on such shortnotice, Mr. Bigsucker.

    Darrell Hunters lineage had met the defense specialistonly once before, as far as the family records showed.

    Well it is nice to keep busy. There isnt much to do as

    a defense specialist when your entire race is at peace.Yes sir, of course. So I wanted to show you these

    readings we have been getting. They suggest very strangeelectromagnetic activity herethis whole region in fact. That

    we figured out pretty quickly, about a hundred days ago. Then

    we realized we could actually manipulate these erratic forces toour advantage. We actually think we can focus the pulses at

    specific locations, for example a human watercraft.What good would that doare humans magnetic or

    something? Have I not been updated on the magneticproperties of the sentient land beings?

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    I assure you the humans are not magnetic and that ifthat had been the case you would have been promptly notified.

    However, their navigational apparatuses are magnetic. They

    look like this, sir.Hunter uncurled a tentacle on his left side and revealed

    the small round disk, a spinning needle balanced on its center.Bigsuckers eyes focused on the compass, then back on the

    other cepheran. He glowed white with appreciation.Hunter, good work.

    November 9, 2014

    He had no key to start the boats ignition, but he didnt

    fret. Buoyancy was what he needed at the moment. The current

    swept him to the center of the canal as soon as he was untied.The chop was making the ride bumpy, but the boat seemed to

    handle it well.Manuel drifted with the current this way for almost an

    hour. During that time, He saw hillsides shrink and grow out ofthe ground before his eyes. He wondered what could do this to

    land masses so quickly, and then thought how greateful he was

    that he hadnt been swimming at the time! He saw patches offorest tip over in waves of uprooting trees. The water level was

    definitely high, but he could not tell by how much.After about a half hour he had found a wooden oar

    under a bench on the boat. It provided minimal influence on his

    direction, but still made him feel like he had some controlsome say in his fate. He stuck the oar in the water now to avoid

    the tip of some sort of large artificial structure protruding fromthe water.

    Then he recognized where he was: these were the canallocks at Miraflores. He had not visited this place in years, but it

    was unmistakable. The boat smacked hard against whatManuel had determined to be a submerged lock.

    Immediately the boats deck took on water, little

    streams swirling around Manuels feet. With only a fewseconds to make a decision, Manuel jumped onto the

    protruding metal wall of the canal, and his boat was out of sitewithin ten seconds.

    He was stranded, with water on all sides of him. Thecurrent was very fast here. All of the buildings and structures

    had been wiped out by the rough waters. As he floated along,

    he saw few signs of people; he assumed most had either fledthe water or had met fates on which he did not wish to dwell.

    When he looked downstream, he saw that the lake had beenturned into a massive whirlpool. Ships, debris, and trees were

    all making their way around a giant bathtub drain at the center.

    A helicopter whizzed by too high and too fast forManuel to try to flag it down. While he was looking up,

    something scratched Manuels leg, which had been submergedalmost to the knee. When he looked down, he realized that

    millions of shards of broken glass of all colors and sizes wereflowing by in all directions. After ten minutes of standing

    helplessly on this tiny vantage point, the currents slowed, as

    did the whirlpool. Then the water began flowing the other way.The receding floods exposed enough of the destroyed locks for

    Manuel to pick a path to safety.There was not time to consider what had happened, but

    only what to do next. As Manuel took his first step on soggy

    but solid land, he chuckled. He chuckled and thanked God, firstfor sparing his life, then for ensuring that he would not humor

    the temptation of swimming on the job again for a long time.

    October 3, 1991

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    September 4, 2010

    I found myself in a room made entirely of glass.

    1361 B.C.E.

    Let me remind all of you one last time, that the

    commitment you are about to make is one that you will take toyour death.

    Some of the men fidgeted and squirmed where theystood. The sky was clear and blue, blemished only by the small

    bright sun. All of them squinted and shaded their eyes as they

    looked up at the man who stood before them on a raised marblepodium. He spoke with a booming voice, and would have been

    overwhelmingly tall even without his pedestal. His head had

    been shaved bald, and his skin was evenly tanned a rich brown.Hanging from his neck and resting on his naked chest were a

    number of beautiful stones, kinds that the men below had neverbefore seen.

    You are all here because you have heard the legends,and I am here to assure you that through these gates they will

    become your reality! Behind me lives Poseidons garden! Here,through the bearing of his gifts, you will live longer than you

    thought possible. Each of you will possess the strength of threemen of the mainland. You will never spend a day without food

    or a roof over your head. But if you have loved ones on the

    outside, I urge you to please consider for more than a passingmoment, for you shall never see them again. Consider how

    little sympathy we will give once you have given your life tothis place and its secrets.

    The boat on which the men listened was rocking gentlyin the water of the narrow canal. In front of the boat was a

    massive set of wooden gates, Surrounded by towering walls of

    stone. On either side of the canal were the shrubby beaches thatenclosed the island.

    Even upon these sands that were just outside the walls,the secrets of the interior never reached the ears of a single

    living man. Many people worked outside the walls however,

    carrying out laborious tasks without knowledge of the societysinner workings. These men and women were known as the

    Ignorants, and they were free to come and go as they pleased.We have many ships coming and going, even today

    before nightfall. If you wish to reconsider this life-changingdecision, we welcome it.

    None of the men budged; most of them were there

    because they had no one to return home to, or a home at all.Anybody? He looked around and waited with a air of

    deliberation. Then he spoke again.

    So be it. Welcome to Atlantis.Immediately upon these words, the gates began to creak

    open. The men on the ship expected to be dazzled by thebustling community inside. Instead, they found another,

    identical gate. A few in their crew helped move the shipforward by rowing, and they were also aided by a slight inward

    current. Soon a few Atlanteans were tiptoeing along the wallsof this tight canal, catching ropes from crew members on the

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    boat. When the boat had been entirely towed inside, the gatesbehind the fifty-odd men closed.

    What happened next was the last thing the men

    expected. In particular, they moved in the last direction theyexpected to move.

    Slowly at first, the water level began to fall. Down theywent, until the high afternoon sun was blocked out by the walls

    of their enclosure. Only once the height of the walls haddoubled did the gate in front of them begin to open. Even

    despite all of the water that had just drained out, the opening of

    the gates caused additional water to rush out beyond the gates.The current pulled the ship forward. It rocked treacherously for

    a moment, creating a collective woah from the men aboard.Now they beheld their long-awaited, shining city.

    There was so much to take in. The ship continued to

    move forward down a narrow waterway, as if it were designedto give them this magnificent tour. All around them the

    structures were built in peculiar shapes and sizes, and weremade of white marble, heavy-looking, unfamiliar black stones,

    and glass. The glass seemed to be the most striking, in fact, asit came in all shapes, sizes, and colors. The way it all caught

    the sunlight made it seem as though each piece had been set

    perfectly for illuminating the city at that time of day. It was themost beautiful thing any of them had ever seen; it was more

    splendid than anything they could have ever dreamed of, even

    in an afterlife.Up ahead the boat was about to go down a slight ramp

    and into a round, artificial-looking lake that comprised thecenter of the island. All along the walls of the artificial water

    body were other ships, built in styles representing cultures fromacross the Mediterranean, as well as some beyond any

    recognition.Then in the middle of the water, right where they were

    headed, a single mass was rising. It looked like a crown madeof bone covered by flesh. It was of a dark reddish brown. Three

    points emerged next to the crown; as it continued to rise, the

    points proved to be the top of a glass trident.It is Poseidon himself! one man yelled.

    Just as the others gasped in realized agreement, more ofthese crown shapes surfaced around it.

    Nosea beasts! Look, another there! And there! Allof the masses rose in unison. They revealed their soft, tapered

    bodies, which were studded with soul-piercing eyes.

    When the confused and frightened sailors first madeeye contact with the cepherans they reached for weapons.

    However at precisely that same instant, the same bare-chestedman coasted up to the middle of this greeting in a small

    rowboat. The man was not rowing; the vessel glided as though

    set in motion only by an initial push. He stood up on the smallbow. In his tan, weathered left hand he grasped a stone trident,

    its butt resting on the boat, the three menacing tines pointedinto the air next to his face.

    Do not fear them, he boomed. Do not fear your newleadersyour new masters. These beings are of Poseidons

    hand, and as a race they are far older than we people are. It isthey who provide us with the nourishment that makes us strongand vital. It was their ingenious and wisdom that gave us the

    great monuments of achievement that you witness all around

    you now. Do not let your fears weaken you. Do not let yourblindness shade you from paradise.

    Only one man aboard the ship decided he could nothandle this. After a few brief moments of hesitation and

    deliberation, he jumped into the water with a hysterical yelland began to splash away back towards the now-distant gates.

    He fought clumsily against the current as he attempted to swimback upstream.

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    A cepheran calmly emerged right in front of theswimming man and gently embraced him in two or three


    No! Im getting out of here. You cant make meThe cepherans in front of the ship turned to face the

    bare-chested man as if asking a question. As they did so theirentire bodies changed from their brownish-red color to a

    vibrant mosaic of green and white blots. The tall man gave asingle, solemn nod. Immediately upon this signal, the cepheran

    holding the man in the water twisted his tentacles, ripping her

    struggling captive into bloody pieces.As you are already well aware, you are here to stay. I

    we allhope that you will make the most of your life here.

    October 4, 1991

    Guys wake up.Jose what the foh oh my god.

    What the hell is this?I dont know manits like a big fish bowl or

    something. I cant see nothin out there.

    Agh My head. So wait we landed the plane? Imtrying to backtrack here

    Um, yeah, well there was that island right? So we were

    going in andI got it! Wait so wheels touched down but then

    didnt the water likeShit, yeah! The water came up over the island, like the

    whole thing wasFake.

    The three men were wet, bruised, and bloody. One hada bad scratch over his left eyebrow. The end of the glass

    chamber to which they were closest was lit by glowing blueslime that seemed to swirl within tubular crevices in the glass.

    The other end was dark.

    And then the venation of the glass seemed to modifyitself and branch, allowing the glowing slime to expand and

    diffuse to the far and of the room. Three of the most horrifyingcreatures the men had ever seen were looking back at them.

    They were like giant octopuses or squids, in that they had manytentacles and two black eyes. Each squatted on curled tentacles.

    One of their heads reached about seven feet high, while the

    other two were just over four feet. Out of the tops of theirheads, skeletal features seemed to push on the skin of the

    creatures, creating a shape like a royal crown, where a squidwould have had a cone.

    The monsters were covered in what appeared to be

    artificial armor of glass, stone, and metal. These wereornamented with colorful gemstones and with pods of

    bioluminescence. Underneath these hard, segmented layers,their true, organic bodies seemed to be soft and moist.

    The creatures slowly approached. The men could hearfaint clicking noises occasionally emanating from somewhere

    within the organisms interiors.

    Guys?Yeah. Jose. What can I do for ya?

    Ay dios mio. Jose muttered under his breath. Then, to

    the creatures, loud and slowly, He-llo. My name is Jose. Mellamo Jose. We come in peace. Venimos

    It looks to me like they want us as lunch not Spanishteachers Jose!

    One of the creatures moved out in front, now onlyabout six feet from the men. While the tentacles seemed to be

    out of range of any of the three men, the creature managed towhip a concealed one around from behind its body and slap it

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    across Joses torso.Jose landed hard on the smooth glass floor with a

    squeaky slide. He couldnt breathe, and a few of his ribs were

    certainly broken. He remained there in the fetal position.Hey! Thats ourMexican!

    The cephalopods just stared, their mantles pulsing likegiant hearts. The two men looked at each other for the last

    time.Fuck it. Yo, for Jose?

    You betchya. Lets dance.

    September 4, 2010

    I could not discern where I was, where I had been

    beforeif I was dead or alive.

    1342 B.C.E.

    The three huge females clenched their siphons and

    propelled themselves up through the glass tubing. Points of

    bioluminescence whizzed passed as they made their waytowards the surface. They lazily noticed the various sediment

    layers, marking the slow progress of geological time.

    Finally the cepherans could see one another again, fortheir translucent tubes led up into a common dark room. Six

    other tubes of water remained empty around the inner walls ofthe vaulted rotunda. Between each tube were the tapered legs

    of arches that intersected at the ceilings apex. These weremarked ornamentally with points of bioluminescence, creating

    symbols in human and cepheran languages. In the middle ofthe round room were six humans in robes of light linen.

    Suspended over them hung a heavy chandelier, filled withbioluminescent slime, swirling and blending dim blue and

    green lights. When they noticed the cepherans arrival, all of

    the humans stood, faced the occupied tubes and gave quickbows of respect.

    The cepherans glowed a deep magenta in reply. Thebeautiful colors filled the chamber then faded. Then each

    cepheran withdrew a broad clear membrane of clear material.Almost two million years of selectively breeding deep sea

    comb jellies had yielded this invention as one of the many

    benefits.The cepheran in the middle finished sticking her

    membrane to the glass tube first. Then she pulled up a tentaclewith a glass stylus attached to the tip, and began to gingerly

    stroke the membranous organism. Wherever she touched, it

    glowed. She swiftly and comfortably wrote in human symbols.The glow of the first symbol did not fade until the fourth was

    being written. All of the humans had crowded around her tubeto transcribe as she wrote.

    We learn you are warring far away.The humans entered a huddle to consider a response.

    All of them knew there might come a day when the cepherans

    would wise up to their questionable use of power at the bordersof their territories. When they had chosen a response, one man

    wrote it with chalk on a large slate. He held it up over his head,

    while feigning a face of sincerity.We want to protect Atlantis.

    The cepherans always hovered slightly above thehumans, forcing the humans to strain to communicate. This

    behavior was not necessarily meant to subordinate the humanshowever; such powerful cepheran females had probably been

    accustomed to hovering above inferiors throughout their entirelives. Another glowing message formed:

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    You were not defending. Attacking. We did not agreethis.

    It took the humans a short while to get their apology in

    chalk how they wanted. In the meantime, they spoke to eachother vocally, so that the cepherans would not understand.

    Finally they held up the slate.You are right. We are sorry. We will not try to spread

    any further without permission.This not good enough. Recall all of your vessels to this

    island. All crews. All warriors.

    The humans seemed to be uncomfortable with this, andwere talking to one another frantically. The cepherans were

    mildly frustrated and bored; they watched the land creaturesthat were so eager to communicate faster and yet only spoke

    one at a time. Finally their talking slowed, and they wrote their

    response.As you wish. Give us ten days.

    Do not lie to us. You cannot make city-state great if itfounded on lies.

    Yes. Move on to other community topics?And so the meeting continued in this way, and the

    humans and cepherans that governed Atlantis discussed

    problems, solutions, plans, and achievements. The humans feltuneasy, as they did not plan to abandon all of their holdings

    east of the strait in the next ten days. If they knew the truth, this

    would not have been the greatest of their concerns.The cepherans felt nothing, only a rational series of

    events to be awaited; they had nothing to worry about. To themthis city was an embarrassment to cepheran culture. It was a

    bastardization of their art and architecture. It was haphazard. Itwas inefficient and decadent in all of the wrong ways. Most

    atrocious to them was the hypocrisy of man. It was true that theAtlanteans exalted the cepherans as gracious providers and

    liaisons to the supernatural. However, between meals of super-nutritious cyanobacteria cultures, the humans of Atlantis

    squandered the most important cepheran gift: the wisdom to

    create harmony on earth.The old and great cepheran species had a history of

    planning generations in advance on every issue, predictingevery possible outcome, and every possible downstream effect

    thereafter. It should be no surprise, therefore, that the oldfemales knew exactly what they intended to do ten days later to

    these corrupt and barbaric beings.

    September 3, 2017

    I have been here for seven years; I spent the first six

    months waiting to wake up. Its not just me down here eitherthere are thousands of us.

    They had kept me in solitary confinement for aboutthree weeks. They were very gentle with me. I think they

    somehow detected my immense fascination in them andtherefore didnt resort to aggression at all. Considering my

    condition, I hung in there pretty well. After all, I was alone

    with all the time in the world to study a missing taxon ofcephalopod divergent evolution!

    I think my daily visit with one of them must have been

    the same individual every day. These days I can tell, but backthen I hadnt yet honed by ability to distinguish. Of course I

    knew he was there to study me (I would later learn how to sexthe species just by appearance too), but I liked to think of it as

    the two of us mutualistically benefiting both of our careers.They cannot speak, but some of them can write in

    English (You wouldnt believe what they use instead of paperdown here if I told you!). They spent a lot of time practicing

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    communication with me, and asking me questions about myselfand the world above.

    When they asked me what my job was on the surface, I

    told them I study squids and octopuses. I had assumed that wasthe simple way of delivering the information. The cephalopod

    sitting with me had replied,Teuthologist?

    While their grammar tends to be spotty, their retentionof vocabulary is spectacular! Their memory in general, in fact,

    is probably the skill in which they most drastically out-compete

    humans as far as I can tell.Their brains appear to be enlarged relative to their

    taxonomic cousins, just like humans. To protect their otherwisesoft and exposed brains, their semi-vestigial shells seem to

    have migrated forward to the front of their mantles, where they

    jut out from under their skin like a kings crown.Most of the people down here make due with the lives

    they have and are relatively content. We are kept very healthy.Our food consists of extremely nutritious cultures of marine

    microorganisms like cyanobacteria and algaes that theyconsume as well. To keep us happy they occasionally feed us

    real seafood, like clams and fish that they farm. I cannot let my

    predicament ruin my objective reporting of facts, which is whyI must tell you the truth: everything is absolutely delicious!

    They encourage us to breed, but they try to respect our

    natural habits of attraction, marriage, monogamy, and so on. Infact, I have learned that if you wish to marry and reproduce,

    they will provide you with more private quarters in which youcan live and raise children. I personally have not landed a good

    catch yet, but there are some potentials. Being fresh meatfrom the surface gives me a lotof appeal down here.

    Every day we are entered in different studies, as thoughthey are systematically dissecting every ounce of what it means

    to be human. One day I will have to do problem-solving gameswith lights, blocks and colors, while the next I may be put

    through a exercise stress test. When I do a good job, they toss

    me delicious pieces of broiled shrimp with some kind ofseasoning that is out of this world.

    My favorite is when they play what I like to call ShowMe How It Works! which is when they hand you a piece of

    human technology that they have found, and you have todemonstrate it. I have been handed cellular phones from the

    90s, and I have been seated in front of rotary phones from the

    50s. Ive even ridden a bicycle in a circle around the algaeaquaculture complex with them hovering behind the glass and

    watching me. Its like if show-and-tell were a persons dayjob.

    The more educated humans down here often refer to the

    creatures as Cephs, while there are some who use all kinds ofslang terms: Squiddies, Squidders, Suckers, Sea Nazis,

    Water Martians, Ass Crackens, Ink-Shitters and so on.I dont know why Im not more upset. I guess it would

    be too exhausting to spend every day in rebellionnot tomention, the Cephs would probably kill me. Ive seen a couple

    people be taken away, but usually by the time they were

    removed from the compound all the humans were so irritatedand disturbed by their outbursts that we didnt mind the

    intervention as much as we maybe should have.

    The Cephs dont try to deceive us. When anyone asksthem if we will ever see the surface again, they reply

    something like,Probably not. If we succeed in our goals, your children

    or their children may go to surface some day.

    June 13, 1549

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    No man may claim jurisdiction over the infinite seas.


    September 19, 2018

    All around the world people saw the same thing. Ofcourse some people, such as the crew of a Japanese whaling

    ship hundreds of miles south of port, those aboard a U.S. navalship in the middle of the Atlantic, the people of Cape Town,

    South Africa, some coastal villagers at the southern-most

    regions of Chile, and a few lucky Polynesians, all got front rowseats.

    It was broad daylightprecisely noon, in fact. Surely ifyou have been paying attention thus far you know it had been

    intended that way; nothing on September 19th, 2018 wasaccidental.

    The rockets were like nothing anybody had ever seen.

    The brilliant projectiles had very little if any metal to speak of.Their shells were mostly of a stunning reflective substance,

    which caught the sunlight and refracted it into dazzlingrainbows across the world.

    At any site where a rocket was sited, dozens more

    followed. Meanwhile, other rocket clusters, such as thosesurrounding Antarctica, were not even spotted by a single

    human eye as they made their ascent.While the unique materials of the vessels prevented

    easy detection by human military technology, a few were

    successfully shot down by the worlds militaries. Most of therockets were intercepted only by the endless stare of


    1341 B.C.E.

    Please, I have journeyed for little less than a year.You dont seem like the usual sea wanderer. Where

    did you hail from? Originally?

    The wanderer took in a deep breath and braced himself,before finally saying, I was a native to the once-great island-

    state of Atlantis.Some of the men standing in back giggled when they

    heard this, but others elbowed them to be quiet.

    Atlantis you say? The captains eyes narrowed as hetook a few steps forward. I thought nobody ever left that

    place. Were you born among the Ignorants? Outside thewalls?

    No. Inside. To my knowledge I am the only person toever make it out.

    The captain looked over the tired man. Then he glanced

    back at his crew. When he turned around again, he sighed.Very well. You may work with us for the time being.

    But first, tell me what went on in there. What was the big

    secret so great that no one could ever leave? I will give youwork, yes, but your only payment to get on my ship will be the

    divulgence of this information.You will not believe me.

    Of course I will. You have nothing to lose andeverything to gain. And with that whole island sunken into the

    sea, this once-forbidden disclosure provides no more risk. Icannot foresee your motive to lie anymore.

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    You are entirely correct in your assumptions. But Imust warn you that I still doubt your willingness to accept what

    I tell you. Are you sure you want to know?

    Not a single grain of uncertainty upon the beach of mysoul, friend! But wait! Whisper it in my earI alone want to

    learn this great thing before we divulge to the others.Very well.

    The starving Atlantean leaned into the captains ear andwhispered. The rest of the crew tried to lean forward at first,

    before realizing their efforts to eavesdrop were futile. All of

    them had to stand there in the quiet seaside morning and justwait.

    Finally the Atlantean was finished and he backed awayfrom the captain. For a moment the captains face was blank,

    his eyes searching through nothing. Then his bubble of laughter

    burst from his mouth, and was quickly joined by that of thecrew. The Atlantean felt defeated by the unbelievable truths

    that were his life.Then the captains amusement depleted itself, all

    remnants of humor gone from his eyes and bearded mouth. Hewound back his hand, and then swung it across the Atlanteans

    face. The poor wanderer felt spit land on his neck and cheek

    while he cowered on the ground. As his garments rode up hisback, the crew noticed how prominent the ribs were on this

    emaciated figure.

    I was wrong about you. You dress a little cleaner thansome of the twisted migrants and you have some strange

    necklaces and because of that you think you can pass yourselfoff as Atlantean. I havefoughtAtlanteans; they were ferocious

    invaders! Not sniveling, delusional liars like you!WaitdontI told you that you wouldnt

    How dare you claim heritage in Poseidons chosenpeople, the greatest masters of the sea that the world has ever

    known! And then to soil their name with such drivel about seamonster kings

    Each of the Atlanteans coughs caused the spot where

    he was struck to throb hot on his face. The captain turned to hiscrew to continue his rant as the whole mob of them turned to

    leave the dock.And perhaps his breath smells like low tide because

    he is still trying to eat the seaweed for super strength, as in themost extravagant of Atlantean myths!

    The final swell of laughter flowed up to the homeless

    mans ears like a broken wave fizzling up an inclinedshoreline.

    That night was like any other night for the Atlantean:carrying out odd jobs for the boat owners, nursing his wounds,

    and looking out at the big west ocean, reassuring himself that

    his birthplace was really once there.

    September 20, 2018

    geologists meanwhile claiming they werent rockets

    at all that they were some kind of natural global event. And Iquote, an emission of igneous and metamorphic particles from

    deep and sensitive strata at the mantle/crust interfacesmissiles left over from the cold war, but no one has

    owned up to such a claimnot unlike War of the Worlds, in which the aliens

    had buried their ships here ahead of time...

    these werent natural events! Please! You can tellhere in these clips that the trajectory is very intentionally

    modified, and that the vessel continuously accelerates itself

    basically all of this points to something similar to, but notidentical to, human rocket propulsion.

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    military cover up

    those that were not shot down did leave the earths

    atmosphere, making it into space. NASA claims they haveabout fifty percent of these objects accounted for, some in our

    orbit, others still moving farther away.no immediate threat, or reason for panic

    Tom, is there any plan to actually go down to any

    of these sites and see what is going on? Linda, yes that is thegoal, but most of these sources are not in the easiest places to

    just go down and take a peak. Were talking about extremelycold waters, extreme depths, darkness, extremely high

    pressures. I think we will definitely see a project start planningquickly, but it will definitely take time before anybody is

    getting in the water at these sites. Linda?

    more and more cataclysmic events! Look at

    Panama! Katrina, Julia, all the other hurricanes that havedecimated cities as of late. Something is going on thats biggerthan us here and nobody wants to connect the dots!

    February 2, 2017

    Yes that is exactly what Im going to do. I will send amessage to them through their global electronic

    communication system. I will send them a message through

    their most modern form of global communication. The precisesymbology of the message has been in revision for the last two

    hundred and twenty-six days.Excellent work, Glassmith. You have my full support

    and confidence. Have we planned our emergencyprecautions?

    Your strategy sounds disappointingly passive andweak. We will have everything finalized soon. The same

    self-sustaining automaton suits that will be used the post-Launch Day explorations I have taken the extras and

    armored them and weaponized them. You see they do not need

    to be as light if they are merely crawling on the ground.It is peaceful. Keep in mind also that the Glow lineage

    and mine have been teaming up on peaceful human diplomacystrategy since they immigrated into the Ridgeland Metropolis

    system. Launch Day and its aftermath will be the culminationof that work, and the beginning of a total transformation in our

    duties. Thank you, Minister Glow. And, you may tell Ms.

    Mantlebach that we will be addressing water contaminationpolicy right in this first message as well.

    And ifIm right it will be a majortransformation inmine.

    I see your dispute over there. Do not let him agitate

    you. You and your lineage will achieve amazing prestige afterour success in this venture. You will surely be permitted to

    birth a female to enter high ranks. Excellent work. In case ofsuch a turnout, Ridgeland and our entire civilization will be in

    the hands of your expertise, Bigsucker.Of course madam minister. You can be assured I will

    take the matter under my wing with grave seriousness; as you

    may have assumed or even intercepted, I am skeptical ofGlassmiths diplomacy methodology.

    April 21, 2010


    Can you lend a few tentacles over here?Swimming over now. The cepheran glided

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    seamlessly over to his colleague. Once he arrived, Thingsseem to be going smoothly. A successful fuel extraction seems

    highly probable. How can I help over here?

    Help team 3B cut into the pipe.They cant get through? All of the other groups did.

    Maybe just some interior reinforcement, or even somekind of mineral buildup. The good news is we can teach them

    the new technique we developed.Of course. Right away. Crack.

    The young male cepheran glided over to the workers.Crack crack crack! How is your progress over here?The one in the geometric center of the group replied

    without waiting for any others.Not as quick as we had hoped. They have used very

    durable materials.

    I thought they might have. Or, so the boss thinks, itcould be some kind of mineral build upa flaw in their

    technology. Im supposed to get you guys to try the lasercutter. Can I show you how to work it?

    All of the workers gave a swift affirmative responsewith their royal blue mantles. Then a few of the workers swam

    away and brought back the laser cutting apparatus from a

    cluster of equipment sitting on the seafloor. They attachedfloats to it that made it almost neutrally buoyant.

    Right so fasten this on to here. The way youre doing

    it is correct. Now angle this spotting beam at three sixty-fourths. Great. Set up the others that way and let the machine

    start heating up. Ill be back in a short while.Seven workers each perfectly emulated the same setup

    at different points around the pipes circumference. They dideverything with complete accuracy, exactly as instructed.

    However, they assumed that this human oil pipe was entirelyhomogeneous, or at least that the odds of them destroying a

    very unique and important failsafe was highly improbable.

    September 21, 2018

    As far as I can tell, no other recipient is following up

    much either.Well regardless, do you think the author is

    responsible? Or involved in any way?

    Ah, I dont knowYou think its some kind of eco-terrorist stunt? Like

    the whole point is that bottom part? Kind of a funny way to getthe word out

    For what its worth, Ive heard weirder. And God the

    fact that they emailed everybody! Nine national governmentsand the U.N.? It keeps goinglook at this list you guys!

    Did we even check if this email had a virus?Let me see this. Ok a few marine biology labs

    and FEMA? A few addresses in the Pentagon hah they gotPETA! Haha! Its like they were just clicking random


    Three different languages too!Okay that makes it a little more impressive. And

    maybe a clue I dont think English was the first language

    it looks like a third grader wrote it.Or an alien race wrote it! Or rather, they intentionally

    made it look that way?HmmI thought I had seen it all

    And the budget they would needno eco group Iveever heard of has this much backing. I mean were talking

    about a private entity launching not one, but dozens of rocketsout of the earths atmosphere, andlaunching from the deepest

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    points in the ocean?! No, whoever wrote this garbage e-mail isnot the actual source.

    And they certainly arent who they say they are

    one official said with narrow eyes.You sure about that?

    The bubble of sarcasm popped. Everybody laughed.What if we look for the, um, gift they left us?

    The one leftprecisely in the Pacific Ocean? NoI donot think we will waste anybodys time with that goose-chase

    right now.

    Okay so I move to push this email aside in pursuit ofmore useful andGod willingrelevant data until we have

    any reason to consider this stuff useful. How do we feel aboutthat?

    Yes, that sounds good.

    Agreed.Yes, sir.

    First Contacts

    12,572 B.C.E.

    The hunters had already cornered a mother and her calf.For a long time they had been thoroughly efficient, too

    efficient from an ecological standpoint. In some regions, a fewsubspecies had already been driven to extinction by over-hunting. They had yet to set limits on the hunting of these

    beautiful creatures; they had yet to notice their world shrinking.The rest of the pod was already out of sight, yet their

    moaning calls were still within range. Usually, when thehunters traveled this far up, the sun would bathe them and their

    prey with blades of light. Today, however, it was rain that fell

    from above, and clouds had darkened the sky. No matter; thehunters were naturally versatile, and prepared for anything.

    Once the mother had been cornered along side her

    young, she suddenly switched from fear to anger. Her tiringacts of aggression were futile. The cepheran vessels of glass

    gained on her from all sides. She was confused as the opaqueparticles of the water became each painted by blinding green,

    blue, and white lights.Then the massive lance was through her abdomen. The

    force was so great that it pushed her out of the water. The

    cepheran vessel pilots realized how close they had been toshore. One of them poked their head above the surface, to get a

    rare glimpse of what only a small fraction of cepherans eversaw: land.

    This one curious cepheran then noticed the

    group of figures standing and staring back on the beach. Hequickly began cracking an alarm call with his submerged beak.

    Many of the other cepherans surfaced and watched.After observing briefly, they saw how the land

    species had just killed their own prey. They had used tools.They were communicating. The accounts from distant

    settlements had been true ones.

    Thats when everyone first felt their world shrinking.

    September 20, 2018

    To whom this concerns:

    Hello.How are you today?

    My name is Roger. My family name is Glassmaker.

    I am of a species of intelligent cephalopods that lives at the

  • 8/7/2019 Poseidon's Million Crowns


    bottom of the ocean all around the world. We are a mucholder species than humans. Our civilization watched thehuman evolve into intelligent creatures. We are also moreintelligent than all of you. This is okay, however. We do notthink this should block you and us from being friends.

    We will admit that we have taken some members of yourspecies for observation. If you noticed that you are missingpeople it may be because we took them. Sorry. Many ofthem are alive. Or some died but their children are alive. Weneed them so we can learn about you and learn how tocommunicate with you. Thank you for your patience andunderstanding.

    We have also stolen various objects from you. They havebeen very helpful to our way of life. We want to return manyof these things soon. For example, we have already putback many things inside the RMS Titanic that we took. Ourhuman specimens say you will want them. Also, we left theplane flown by humans Noonan and Earhart in shallowwaters off the shore of a small island in what you call thePacific Ocean. Thank you for letting us borrow.

    Launch Day yesterday was done by us. It was our rocketsthat went up into the sky. Some of our species are nowheading into space, into orbit around the moon the earthand sun and mars and onto the Mars and Moon surfaces too.Sorry for the disturbance yesterday. We wish that you nottake offense at our passing through your territory.

    In addition to telling you of our existence, we want to alsoask that you not pollute the water as much in the future.Many activities like making food and researching need goodwater. For example, the materials you call plastic fall ontoour cities many times. Please put the plastic somewhereelse, or use something else instead of the plastic.

    Some day we would like to meet you in person. At thispoint, we just want to establish a peaceful relationship.Right now what we ask you is to not attack us after

    receiving this electronic message. This will tell us you do notwant to fight. We do not want to fight. This will be good.

    Thank you for reading this letter. Please share this withevery human on the planet.

    I hope you have a lovely day.

    Sincerely,R. Glassmaker, S. Bioluminescent,the Cepheran Race