by A21 Reporter Andy Clems
The rumors have been confirmed by the Marineville press office this morning, Stingray has discovered an underwater city thought to have been lost almost 6,000 years ago!
Captain Troy Tempest was on a routine patrol on Thursday evening with crew members Phones and Marina aboard. He recalls, “We were travelling at rate two acceleration, sweeping our assigned patrol sector, when Phones picked up something unusual on the hydrophone set. Phones is real expert when it comes to the underwater soundscape and he was certain the soundings indicated a large artificial formation in a nearby trench. We contacted Marineville and Commander Shore gave us permission to investigate.
I swung Stingray about and took us into the trench gently, not knowing what to expect. I asked Phones if he thought it could be a wreck, but he said it sounded too large even for that. As we neared the position, Marina pointed excitedly to starboard. Phones and I turned and followed her gaze. I couldn’t believe it, it was an underwater city! That may not seem so fantastic, after all there are plenty of undersea cities in the ocean, but none of them looked quite like this.
To begin with it was old, real old, and seemed pretty deserted. Who knew how long it had been lying there unnoticed? I figured the first thing we ought to do was make an investigatory sweep before venturing into the structure. Marina, Phones and I kept a sharp lookout for hazards and I guided Stingray through what could have been streets between the buildings. The high-intensity floodlights made the gloom seem like daylight and after about half an hour of searching, we found nothing to indicate there was any activity. It was like a ghost town.
The chance of running into any trouble seemed remote, so Phones and I got into our diving gear and the three of us proceeded out of the airlock and towards the largest building at the center of the city. It was huge, about the size of a cathedral and dome shaped. The inside was completely flooded, though it was obvious at some point the corridors had been watertight as we found the remains of an airlock and door seals as we explored the ruins.
As we approached the central chamber, the three of us began to hear a low-frequency sound. It was pulsing regularly, like the slow beat of a drum. Marina was swimming slightly ahead of us, her natural abilities able to sense things in the underwater world much faster than Phones or I could. I saw her gesturing towards a doorway to the left of the chamber. I wasn’t sure I was really seeing it at first, but then as Phones and I neared, I saw that Marina’s face was being lit up with an eerie greenish glow, dead on the pulse of the sound we were hearing.
Swimming further into the room, we saw a large crate, about the size of a wardrobe lying on its side. The light and sound was coming from a strange orb on the outside of the crate, and there were a series of chains and locks covering the surface of the crate itself. I asked Phones to stand by at the ready with his aqua-ray as I leaned forward, pulling the micro-cutter from my equipment belt. Suddenly, Marina grabbed my hand and I looked at her in surprise. She shook her head at me, her long hair flowing behind her in the water. I told her I only wanted to open the crate to see what was inside and that I wanted Phones to be prepared as a precaution. She shook her head again and pointed first to the crate and then back the way we had come. I asked her if she meant that we ought to take the crate back to Stingray before opening it. As I looked at her, feeling more than a little confused, she nodded. That settled it. It took us a little time to get the crate out of the ruins using our sea-bugs, but we managed to transfer it safely to Stingray’s cargo hold.
It was a good thing that Marina had warned us not to open the crate in the city, because when we finally unlocked it back at Marineville, we found countless scrolls, documents and paintings detailing the whole history of the underwater civilization. The contents of the crate would have been destroyed by the harsh effects of the sea. Knowing they couldn’t prevent the catastrophe that threatened them, the people of the city placed a kind of beacon on the outside of the crate so that one day their knowledge and culture might be found and preserved. It will take our best historians years to catalog and understand everything we have found, but I feel privileged to have been a part of helping to bring this history alive again.”