Eric Brown: The Kraken Rises

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Eric Brown The Kraken Rises
  • Название:
    The Kraken Rises
  • Автор:
  • Издательство:
    Severed Press
  • Жанр:
    Ужасы и Мистика / на английском языке
  • Год:
    2017
  • Город:
    Hobart
  • Язык:
    Английский
  • Рейтинг книги:
    4 / 5
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The Kraken Rises: краткое содержание, описание и аннотация

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While exploring the depths of an oceanic trench, the crew of the research station Platform Alpha One discover a new life form. This life form however isn’t new. It has existed since long before mankind walked the surface of the planet Earth and now that it has been awakened, it plans to take its place at the top of the food chain. Will the crew of Platform Alpha One and the inbound warships be able to stop the monster or now that the Kraken has arisen is it already too late?

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Eric S. Brown

THE KRAKEN RISES

Twin beams of light pierced the darkness of the waters. The Hanson’s headlights ran along the length of the walls of the trench as the two-man submersible slowly crept through it. The X-29 was a new class of submersible. She was a thing of beauty to Pitts. Her maneuverability far surpassed anything else he had ever piloted in the depths. The X-29 was also equipped with a sensor array that seemed like something straight out of science fiction.

“This place is amazing, isn’t it?” Thomas smiled beside him in the X-29’s pilot compartment.

“Glad you’re enjoying the ride, Doc,” Pitts said, smiling back. The trench was anything but beautiful to Pitts. Its scarred, jagged walls spoke volumes about how violent the Earth could be. Pitts wasn’t a scientist. He was just a very well-paid pilot that loved his job.

“Do you know how old this trench is?” Thomas asked him, the excitement thick in his voice.

Pitts managed to keep from sighing and holding his fake smile in place.

“This trench is older than mankind,” Thomas said. “Far, far older than I’d dare hope when we spotted it yesterday.”

“I still don’t know how you got Cheryl to give you the okay to come back out here,” Pitts said. “We’re all supposed to be packing up.”

Thomas gave him a stunned look. “For all that Cheryl is an administrator these days, she still understands what a find like this could mean to us all.”

“Because of those readings, right?” Pitts questioned him.

“Yes. Those readings.” Thomas’ gaze was fixed on the data coming in from the X-29’s sensors. “If I am right about what they are, inside this very trench, Lewis, at its bottom, could be a lifeform older than anything ever encountered before.”

Pitts laughed, quoting an old movie, “Not all aliens come from space, eh?”

Thomas apparently recognized the line. “There are no such things as monsters.” He looked up from the data on the screen in front of him to give Pitts a troubled look. “This isn’t a horror movie, Mr. Pitts.”

Pitts wanted to point out the X-29’s forward window at the grotesque things that passed for fish at these depths, but there weren’t any around. In fact, he hadn’t seen any signs of aquatic life at all since the X-29 had entered the trench. “I hope you’re right, Doc.” Pitts shrugged and changed the subject. “You got me a destination yet?”

Fingers flying over the controls in front of him, Thomas sent the coordinates where the strongest of the readings he was picking up were coming from over to Pitts’ pilot station.

“You should have it now,” Thomas answered.

“That’s the bloody bottom of this trench, Doc,” Pitts complained.

“According to her specs, the X-29 can handle the depth,” Thomas said.

“I didn’t say she couldn’t,” Pitts pointed out. “But that far down, we’re not going to be able to retain contact with Alpha One.”

“Cheryl and the ops staff are aware of where we are and where we’re likely headed,” Thomas reminded him. “And like I said, this isn’t a horror movie, Pitts. We’ll be fine. All the evidence I’ve collected thus far points to whatever is down there being dormant. It’s likely been asleep since before the dinosaurs died out. I don’t think us taking a look around is going to wake it up.”

Pitts grunted. Thomas was calling the shots after all. They were going down to the trench’s bottom whether he liked it or not. Refusing to do so could very well cost him his job.

“Course plotted,” Pitts said. “I’m taking us in.”

The X-29 shifted in the dark waters, aligning itself for a direct descent towards the bottom of the trench. Pitts kept her descent slow and cautious. Even as deep as she already was, it would take another full ten minutes to reach the bottom of the trench. And though the X-29 was built for exactly this type of exploration, the pressure would be constantly increasing on her hull. Pitts knew she could take it, but it pushed even the X-29 to her upmost limits.

As the X-29 descended, Thomas hit a key on his controls, putting the sounds he was listening to on speaker.

“Do you know what you’re listening to?” Thomas asked.

The noise reminded Pitts of a heartbeat. It was impossibly slow to be one though. The slow thud-thud-thud of the noise creeped him out. He wasn’t about to admit that to Thomas however.

“Sounds like a heartbeat,” Pitts answered.

“We can only hope so,” Thomas said, beaming.

Suddenly, a new noise overpowered that of the heartbeat. It was high pitched like the cry of a dying cat. The noise was so intense that both he and Thomas clasped hands over their ears.

“Shut that off!” Pitts yelled at Thomas over the noise.

The shrieking continued to grow as the noise seemed to multiply. Instead of one cry, there were two and then dozens and then hundreds. Grimacing against the pain of the growing crescendo, Thomas managed to shut the speaker off.

Pitts’ ears were ringing as he shouted, “What in the devil was that?”

Thomas had gone pale next to him. “I have no idea,” Thomas answered.

An alarm light was flashing on the console in front Pitts. He blinked at it in surprise.

“What is that?” Thomas gestured at the alarm light.

“Do you want the bad news or the worse news?” Pitts asked as he cracked his knuckles and leaned over the X-29’s helm controls.

Thomas merely stared at him.

“Well, we’re not alone down here anymore, Doc,” Pitts said bluntly. “And whatever is out there, they’re closing on and us and fast. I suggest you get to work with the sensors and find out what it is that’s coming at us.”

The high-pitched cries had distracted Thomas from watching the data coming in from the X-29’s sensor array. He saw now that a mass of things, clearly alive and mobile, had detached themselves from the lower walls of the trench. From what he could tell about their shapes, they reminded him of squids. They clearly weren’t though. At least not any kind of squid he had ever seen in all the years of his career as a marine biologist before. They had characteristics of both squids and octopuses, but their bodies were far denser in terms of mass according to the readouts he was seeing. Each of them possessed eight tentacles that emerged from their lower bodies with two of those tentacles being thicker and much likely stronger than the others. Thomas swallowed hard.

“Mr. Pitts,” Thomas said. “I think it’s time for us to go.”

“Couldn’t agree with you more, Doc.” Pitts was already in the process of bringing the X-29 about. She rolled in the water, her nose turning upwards towards the surface of the trench. As soon as she was in position, Pitts punched it. The X-29’s engines howled in protest, straining, as the small craft shot upward, building speed as she went.

Pitts’ had called up a tactical display on his screen, watching the creatures closing in on the X-29. Despite her increasing speed, the creatures were gaining on her.

“Just how fast can these things go, Doc?” Pitts demanded.

“They bare a strong resemblance to squids, Mr. Pitts,” Thomas told him. “I think we should be able to outdistance them easily.”

“Think again,” Pitts growled, fighting with the X-29’s controls and trying force power from her engines faster. “As far as I know, squids top out at around twenty-one knots, right?”

“Something like that,” Thomas agreed, though Pitts was beginning to wonder just how shaken up he was. Thomas was nearly trembling in his seat, his eyes bugged out, and his skin pale.

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