Farrell went mad two days ago. We held him down, David, Alex, and myself bound his wrists and ankles with duct tape, and secured him to his chair. Then after another three hours of shouting and spitting…we taped his mouth shut too because he was driving us nuts. I’m not proud of it, but what else could we do?! He was intent on opening the hatch, and that is madness in a tin. We kept taking the tape off as gently as possible to offer him some food when we ate the remnants of the packed lunches, but he either refused to open his mouth, or spat it back out at us. He was also resolutely against using the makeshift toilet options in any form. So the aroma in here is beyond gross…foul, foul it is, we all came close to throwing a few times. Imagine what that must be like with four people confined within a space no larger than your average car…I’m pretty sure he’s all crapped out now though. Or dead. Probably the latter.
The submersible we’re inhabiting is Brent2, named after its designer Brent Filby, and is primed to dive up to a depth of six miles down into the Mariana ocean trench in the western Pacific – the deepest of its kind as of yet discovered. Alex said Brent2 can withstand 114 MPa (16,500 psi) of pressure. I have no clue what that really means, my speciality is biology not physics, so I nodded thoughtfully as he leant over me, feeling the fingers in his eyes roam over my body, probing every nook and cranny, and tried to look like I knew what he was on about in the hope he’d just shut up and go the hell away for five minutes.
Pressure I get the basics of. I’m aware that this baby can go insanely deep and won’t implode, crushing us to liquid and bone dust in seconds, which all sounded so reassuring in a disturbing way on land. I can tell you something else too – It’s so goddamn cold in here we could cut glass with our nipples, and yes, I’m including the men in that equation too. Its that freaking cold. Of course we were all issued these state of the art, high-tech warmth suits, but as the sub dived deeper and deeper I could feel the chill growing, slipping inside me like a cruel knife. Now I’m cold for reasons well beyond the temperature, and I am beginning to wonder why I never asked a pretty pertinent question before throwing all my chips in with Brent2….”Hey guys, what went wrong with Brent one?” Dur. I think I’m a bit low on smarts at times.
The trip should have taken twelve hours: we are presently four days in. The aim of the mission – to film and capture the activity and habitat of the largest invertebrate on earth and the most elusive…the Colossus Squid. Not a Giant Squid. Think bigger, much bigger if you can. We’re talking a length of around 30-40 feet, probably more. The eyes alone have been recorded at 40cm in diameter, and get this, the structure of their eyes is exactly the same as that of the human eye. And they don’t just have suckers on those long elegant slimy arms, nope, they have hooks on there too. Hooks. Don’t ask one for a hug. They were considered legend rather than fact until the first specimen was caught only thirty years ago in the eighties, the same decade I was born.
When I first heard about the expedition I practically swooned at the very thought of being on board. I’m majoring in the Colossus, otherwise known as Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni. Catchy name isn’t it? The whole focus of my masters degree revolves around that one creature. Technically I shouldn’t be here at all. I’m just a bog standard M.A student, but boy when I caught wind of what they were planning I wanted this. I really wanted it. And I always get what I want, one way or another.
So I put the time in. I worked. Begged, pleaded, wined, dined, charmed, cried, blackmailed a little, pulled strings, and finally gave the blow job of his life to the greasiest son-of-a-bitch in the county, (Charles Dagnam Junior, the money bags slime-ball funding the whole operation. He’s not the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree, which made it so much easier), all in order to score a place in this minuscule goldfish bowl of a submersible with three sweaty incredibly unattractive guys. My morals may be barely existent, but my passion for the sea and my work is boundless. My obsession with Colossus borders on zealous. Nothing takes precedence over my love for it and ocean deeps inhabitants. I prefer aquatic life to humans any day.
The crew goes as follows: the pilot – Farrell – (the lucky sap strapped to the chair, turning blue at present), and two scientists – David Grafton and Alex Mardent. The former being practically monosyllabic; a balding man with a face resembling a bilious frog, seemingly only interested in stats and graphs, a complete tech geek, carrying a beer filled paunch before him like a carrier bag full of wobbling tripe. The latter, Alex, as already touched upon, is the kind of guy of who doesn’t take his eyes off a female for ten seconds, and ten seconds is enough for a mental undressing and a fast screw backwards against the wall inside his gross, fat head. I wouldn’t mind so much if he was the living embodiment of gorgeousness, but Apollo he ain’t. Clearly trains in the gym several times a day but is more George Formby than George Clooney. I can deal with Alex’s sort easily enough though. I considered allowing him to fuck me before the trip, not because I find him attractive, simply because once he’d had his conquest he might lose interest and let me get on with my work. Finally there’s me: Marie Rousseau. I’m not really part of the crew as I said, more of a stowaway, and of no use technically at all. My aim here being to write a paper for ‘Oceanographic Research’ that can give me the kind of foothold into deep-sea research which will catapult me to the top of the kudos pile and make mine a name to be reckoned with. A star of the seas. All pre-recorded in my exceptionally vivid imagination.
Time ticked on. The basic sandwiches we’d brought ran out soon enough, but the water would last for a while. Brent2 is capable of keeping us alive for up to five days absolute max in an emergency, and you know what? This is an emergency if I ever saw one. We lost contact with the surface after ten hours. No-one panicked. No, that’s a lie, actually I did panic, but the others were so calm and patronising that I soon felt there was little need to worry much. It’s happened before apparently. Just a glitch. But the glitch was never fixed, and on we dove, down, down, down. My suggestion of stopping the vessel and returning twenty hours in was greeted with a mixture of derision and fury. So on we continued.
We slept, and began to feel hunger pangs that soon developed into longing aches. The cold was making us sleepy too. So cold. Then we lost Alex. Alex who appeared to be the most physically fit man I’d ever met in my life, a man who could do press-ups with just two fingers on the floor, had a heart attack in mid rant about how wonderful he was. It was so quick. He went from creepy to corpse in a matter of seconds. Quiet Dave went even quieter after that, and wouldn’t speak to me at all, ignoring all attempts on my part to converse. Fear breeds in spades.
It’s been four hours now since Alex left the party. Dave is sat on the floor rocking slightly with his eyes firmly shut.
That’s two men down, with neither myself nor Dave knowing how to pilot the sub, the radio is out, we have no food left and only half a beaker of water. In five hours time there will not be enough oxygen left to get us even halfway back up to the surface. We can only hope that a rescue mission has already been put into action and they’re on their way. Fast.
Everything that’s happened down here has been recorded. Every action and tragedy monitored intently. For whose posterity though? Because here’s the thing, the only two, half metre sized bulbous windows of the sub have been completely blocked for almost three days now. One is a mass of suckers and hooks, the other, an unwavering constant. One cold unwinking pupil, strangely familiar, that’s so immense it defies all logic. You could get lost in that eye you know.
You could lose your mind in it.
Turns out we didn’t have to go looking for Colossus in the end. It found us instead. It found me, it’s most devoted fan.
I said I always get what I want didn’t I?
Be careful what you wish for.