“Initiating diving sequence. You ready Jim?”
“Good to go.”
“Okay, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1- Cable release, you are cleared.”
Just like that Jim was off. He felt like he should say something important. He was the first person ever to do this after all, but in the end he said, “So far everything’s green; Christ I feel like James Cameron. Beginning descent… You hear me Shelly?”
“Loud and clear Jim.”
After drilling through the ice for several days, the cramped sub, the endless ocean, it was euphoric to Jim. Six years in a box and he finally got to do something worth a damn. The US Government thought that a manned mission to Europa was too costly, though the word they used was “insane”. NASA suggested and even built an unmanned probe to calm Jim down. But with his $4 trillion pockets Jim didn’t really care what the government thought; so he told them where to put their probes, and launched a mission to Europa. Shelly was the only astronaut insane enough to say yes to landing on the surface and drilling. He knew that later he would have to give her $2 billion for this. Pocket change.
“500 meters, see anything Jim?”
“It’s dark as hell, so not a goddamned thing. How long until I can activate the sonar mapping?”
“You can activate it at 3,000 meters without interference, try using the infrared spectrum, maybe something’s hot down there.”
Jim tapped a section of the window. His design, thousands of cameras weaved into ceramic- a transparent camera and monitor system. The window lit up with small dots in red. He sat back in awe and confusion, there were thousands of them.
“1,000 meters,” He jumped when he heard Shelly’s voice.
“My god, are you seeing this?” he said.
“Hydrothermal vents? I can’t believe this, they must be huge to be visible from 84,000 meters!”
Jim took a closer look at the image. They didn’t look like vents, the lights were solid, unmoving.
“Shelly, what if they’re closer? They don’t look like vents to me, no plumes.”
“What else would they be then?… 3,000 meters; go ahead turn on son-“
“What the hell was that?” A huge blinding red light swam past him.
He turned on the sonar and began mapping. A 3D topographical hologram projected from the viewing window. Seven objects appeared to be approaching his sub.
“Shelly, are you seeing this? I have seven on screen, Three coming from below, two at bow, two at port.”
“My god, Jim, they’re intercepting you. I know we expected life, but.”
A loud burst shook his sub. To Jim it sounded like a whale song from the mouth of an other worldly demon. He screamed until it stopped.
“Christ that was loud.” He said, “Did you hear that Shelly?”
“Jim, you…. get out of there!..aren’t animals,…th-… vehicles!” Her voice was erratic; something was jamming their audio.
“Shelly I need to see what’s down there, at least I need to get a better map.” He checked his descent, “I’m at 6,000 meters, I think I can get a naked eye view from 9,500.”
The others came fast as the hologram drew out more details of the surface. It was at 10,000 meters, it had deep vent-like caverns that pocked its face. Lights strung out along it in a strange web.
“Shelly, I don’t know if you can hear this but- I have to go deeper.”
They came within ten meters of his craft, he was sure they would kill him then. But they only showed up and stayed with him, studying. He switched to visible light. He couldn’t see through their windshields, but they were vehicles alright. What did they see when they looked at him? He continued his descent.
“7,000 meters. Their vessels… are triangular. I don’t… I don’t know what to say, we came here for exotic fish, I-I never expected this.”
The vessels matched him for every meter. The structure below was huge, taking in most of the horizon, and it definitely had curvature, the sonar only moved as fast as sound but it bounced off the ice above just enough to give him a very large map.
“8,000 meters. They haven’t harmed me- from the map I can tell that this structure is unbelievably huge, I don’t know how it can withstand the pressure but… Christ! Shelly, look at that!”
Shelly couldn’t hear Jim, but she had his video stream and she couldn’t believe what she was seeing. There was no way- how could it be possible? The structure, now only 1,500 meters from the sub, looked… artificial. From afar it seemed like a giant coral structure but this, this looked like plated metal now.
“Jim,” she said to herself, “Jim I think you’ve seen enough.”
Jim inched further down, the damned idiot.
A loud clang hit the hull of her lander, “Shit, command- I have a hull breach! God, this is not good!
“Jim, I have to leave now, I can’t wait for you.. I- I’m sorry”.
Jim had turned off his receiver, but left his mic rolling, “9,500 meters. This is incredible!”
He’d spent a fortune to get here, to see aliens. He thought they’d be stupid fish, but this- this was not the work of stupid fish. My god, he thought as he descended below one of the caverns; they’re collecting the energy of the whole surface!
On the inside the cavern opened up to show a vast network of structures, thousands of long spires that soaked up billowing clouds of hydrothermal dust. Lights by the thousands marked the walls, and things moved about in orderly fashions. To his right was a small creature floating there and staring at him through long stalks. Eyes, in this dark, they had eyes like antennae. I wonder if- He activated the sub’s arm, there was a flash, and then everything went black for Jim.
I’ve always wanted to write a story about a dyson sphere. I think they are one of the most interesting structures ever conceived by humanity. But I wanted to write a story about a deep diving expedition when I wrote this. So I thought, why not put the richest human alive on a moon landing? Anyway, sorry to post it so late and I hope you enjoyed it. If you did, please share, and follow me for more stories every other day!
Image cred- James Cameron’s Challenger Deep Exploration
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