by Jeff Carter -
An ominous sound rang through the cramped cockpit as the submersible fell away from Port X. Dr. Kwame Singh’s stomach trembled with vertigo and anticipation. He looked up through the synthetic diamond window for a final glimpse of the known world and saw nothing but the blizzard of shrimp feeding off sewage.
The bathysphere sank like a rock and his pulse began to race. Everything was happening so quickly. His ‘Evolutionary Theology’ had spread through a subsection of the Wizards like wildfire. Their methods were sloppy yet their results were stunning. The Syncretization project fused the remaining saints of Ancient Earth to the whales and angels of Eclectia. A less auspicious experiment ended with a group of drunken bug hunters throwing someone into a volcano to appease the goddess Pele. Evo-Theo took the blame and the Peace Council was considering a moratorium on the entire field.
A siren rang as he sank towards the point of no return. The shell of the bathysphere groaned under the pressure. The life support systems whined under the volcanic heat.
The Wizards of Avenir were on Approach, hoping to make some weak and fleeting contact with the Angels. No one knew what type of spectrum the Angels broadcast on, but Dr. Singh bet it was still subject to the physics of signal attenuation. He was determined to go straight to the source, even if that meant plunging into the Black Water.
Violent currents of supercritical fluids slammed the submersible with scorching jets of chemicals. Kwame struggled to keep his head from smashing against the hull. Sweat soaked through his clothes and he struggled to breathe the thickening air.
He wasn’t the only one searching for signals underwater, but he knew something that they didn’t know. He had learned from the miners of Sheba how to boost receiver sensitivity. A mind under great stress received the clearest signals. Something ripped loose from the sub with a shriek. The external lights imploded and the power inside died.
He drifted silently through the darkness, staring at a view bleaker than the void outside Avenir. A speck of light flickered in the distance. It flew towards him like a torpedo and it was getting larger every second. Kwame had seen holos of angels but this thing was massive and it had vastly more limbs.
The creature flared open like a supernova, fiery red tentacles shooting out to engulf the bathysphere. The walls of the sub shrieked and Kwame shrank against the hull, trapped and helpless. A throbbing red glow filled the ship. Something pressed against the window. It was a bottomless black eye, piercing him with its gaze.
A vision was injected into his mind—Rudra Tandava-Armageddon-Ragnarok! He felt the seas boil! Mile high whips of lava lashed the sky! The whole world burned and shattered into cold and merciless vacuum!
Kwame screamed and opened his eyes. The creature was gone. Power returned groggily throughout the sub. As the ship limped upwards he felt the vision singed into his mind. The devastation had felt so vivid, so real. Had he received a genetic memory of the destruction of Sheba, or a warning of what was to come?