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Descending into the Depths

Descending into the Depths

Автором Tasha Marin

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Descending into the Depths

Автором Tasha Marin

Длина:
240 pages
4 hours
Издатель:
Издано:
Mar 12, 2018
ISBN:
9781640821583
Формат:
Книге

Описание

Abagail Martin is a marine biologist. Fresh out of college, she signs up with an ocean research team. Shortly after joining the group, the team is recruited by the US Navy for a special project. The navy wants the team to help improve their underwater research facility out by the Mariana Trench. Abby and a couple others are leery of the job offer at first, but with some encouragement from their team leader, Liam Walsh, they all eagerly accept. The military's underwater habitat is a dream come true and more. Not to mention they can continue any research they are currently involved in, so long as they complete the tasks the navy sets out for them. During a night expedition in one of the mini subs, Abby and two other team members set out to test some new equipment. Something massive picks up on the radar, unsure of what it may be, the trio quickly learns it's the least of their concerns. As Abby and the team dive deeper into the watery depths, the mysteries of the trench aren't their only worry. The navy has its own dark secrets tucked away in the habitat, as well as their own agenda for the team.

Издатель:
Издано:
Mar 12, 2018
ISBN:
9781640821583
Формат:
Книге

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Descending into the Depths - Tasha Marin

Descending into the Depths

Tasha Marin

Copyright © 2018 Tasha Marin

All rights reserved

First Edition

Page Publishing, Inc

New York, NY

First originally published by Page Publishing, Inc 2018

ISBN 978-1-64082-157-6 (Paperback)

ISBN 978-1-64082-158-3 (Digital)

Printed in the United States of America

Captain Jennings

July 2004

Yes, Doctor. I paused for a moment, listening intently. I understand. Just make her as comfortable as possible. I hung up the phone and ran a hand over my tired eyes. I was hoping my mother’s doctor would have good news for me. Unfortunately, all I was told was that the new drug trials were not working. I’m not sure what else to try anymore. We’ve tried anything and everything that is available to her but with no success. The disease slowly but surely continues to progress. With each passing day, I lose a little more of my mother. My mother. She is the reason I wanted to be become a doctor. But we couldn’t afford college. Instead I joined the navy and pursued my passion through them. It took me down a different path than I wanted originally, but still I was able to study medicine. Through it all, my mother has been there for me, encouraging me, praising me, and supporting me from afar.

Two years ago was when she told me that she had been diagnosed with Huntington’s. It was like a punch to the gut. Since then I’ve committed all my spare time to trying to help her, trying to find a cure or anything. There weren’t many options though, and the future looked bleak.

Several months ago, I heard about a program from my commander about how the navy was currently involved with research for cures on many different diseases. I immediately jumped at a chance to join the program. My supervisor knew of the situation with my mother though. They debated at first if I was the best man for the job, worried that I may be too emotionally involved. It took me four weeks to prove that I was worthy of the position. That I could make progress with the program and be an asset to it. I had the time and the schooling in. I worked to prove to them that I had the leadership skills to make it a success.

All of my hard work paid off in the end. It was a proud moment for me when they put me in charge of the whole program. Not only did I have a chance to possibly save my mother, but I had a chance to make history with the navy and a difference with the world.

Within six weeks, I had made leaps and bounds with progress and the program was thriving. Now, we were close to starting human trials. I had been a part of everything with the program and its people, being hands on with all of it as much as possible.

There was one particular product that was in the works that I wasn’t as involved with. I was led to believe that the material we were using for testing was from a rare marine specimen that was dead, but preserved. Three months into it, a problem arose. Apparently, the rare marine mammal they had was in fact not dead, but alive. At least for the moment. About a week ago, they noticed several subtle behavioral changes in the animal. Now, they are positive that the animal is dying.

I was completely caught off guard by this. I demanded that I be taken to this creature to assess the situation for myself. Later, I regretted it. The things I had seen in that tiny room, the thing that was being kept in there, will haunt me to my last dying breath.

The animal is housed in a large pressurized tank. The objects that were on display around the room reminded me of something out of a horror flick that had a torture room in it. Inside the tank there was little lighting and the water was murky. Even with cameras set up on tripods from several different angles, you could hardly make out what was inside the tank.

The first impression I got was that they were keeping some kind of prehistoric fish in the tank. It wasn’t until I went in for a closer look that I had my heart restarted. I had seen some kind of fins flash by the thick glass window, but I had not expected to see a human-shaped hand press against the glass briefly.

What the hell is that?! I scrambled back away from it as fast as I could.

Marty, one of the lab assistants that brought me down here, looked panicked for a moment. It was then that I realized that Marty probably wasn’t supposed to bring me down here. I was never meant to actually see this rare marine mammal.

Before I could say anything more, a petite woman in a lab coat stepped around the other side of the tank followed by another young assistant.

Captain Jennings, thank you for joining us. The woman was quite pretty, but her voice was a bit . . .well, annoying. She gave me a smile that didn’t quite reach her eyes and came closer to shake my hand.

It’s a pleasure to finally meet you, she said in a sweet voice. Turning away from me, she eyed Marty. Thank you, Marty. That will be all.

Without another glance at her assistant’s direction, she turned back to the tank and took on more of a business tone. As you may already have been informed, Captain, we have a slight problem on our hands here. If things were to keep progressing like they have, we would be ready within the month to start moving on to human trials. However, that is not the case. The ‘samples’—her lips curl upward slightly on this word—we’ve have taken from this creature have been perfect until recently. The last several samples have died within minutes after retrieving them. She turns and looks at me expectantly.

What changed? I ask her.

We noticed a few days ago that it was not eating as much, as well as skin changes and odd behavior. Today it has refused to eat at all. She had a sour look on her face like she just bit into a lemon. Sedating the animal and tube feeding has not worked either. If anything it, seems to make its condition worse.

I turned away from the woman and took cautious steps toward the glass once more. I stared into the murky water trying to think as to what brought on all of it. Slowly but surely, I can start to make out the creature in the tank. At first it’s just the outline. Before I know it, it is directly in front of the glass staring at me. Never in all my life would I have ever dreamed something like this could be real. It’s a hauntingly beautiful thing. I think back to my mother and how she read me stories of such creatures when I was a little boy. My mother, she was the whole reason I asked—no, begged—to be assigned here. It’s her life at stake as well as others if a cure cannot be found. They will continue to suffer and wither away if this project fails. I straightened my back and turned away from the glass. No matter what this thing is, I know right down to my bones it’s the key to a cure.

So, I began, I am assuming that this animal is dying and as a result is no longer of value? The woman only nodded her head at me.

What do you suggest then on fixing this? I asked her harshly. I swear the woman almost smiled at me.

Well, sir, we need to find a new specimen. We already have a theory as to where, but we would like to bring in another team, one that can look for a new animal while we . . .‘finish up’ with this one. She gestured toward the tank with that last remark.

Nodding my head, I asked her, How long will this take?

For a brief moment, I saw uncertainty cross her face, but it’s gone in a flash. It depends on the animal. It may be dying, but it could still last several months.

Nodding once again to show I understood, I headed toward the door. Stopping short of the threshold, I turned back to her, "I will have the new team brought in. In the meantime, do whatever is necessary to ‘finish up’ and then start prepping for a new specimen."

With that I left and headed back up to my office on level 3. Once there, I placed a call. I had a hunch that I may need to have a backup team to get the job done. It’s time for me to call L and see if his team is ready to be brought in. My commander won’t be happy by the setback but maybe now would be the time to present him with a suggestion of allowing other teams in for different research. Anything that may benefit the facility is better than no results at all.

Lt. E. Birch

July 2004

As I watched Captain Jennings leave my lab, I was left with mixed feelings. He seemed as though he was emotionally invested in this at first impression. What a foolish man, he should know better. That’s how mistakes happen. That’s how you fail instead of succeed. He surprised me though. He went from unsure to taking control of the situation. He must have flipped a switch the way I’ve seen some people do. They shut off their feelings and carry out what needs to be done, no what matter the cost is. The only problem is, will his bleeding heart come back to bite me in the ass or will he stay strong and keep his weak emotions in check? We’ve all had to make the choice at one point or another. I’ve learned to just keep my own emotions shut off. Time will be the only way to tell. As for his decision, I won’t be taking any chances and relying on his incompetent squad. I’ll be calling in a SEAL who owes me a favor to help get the job done.

Thump!

A tail hitting glass behind me reminded me I still have work to do.

Marty! That boy never seemed to be around when I need him. Get your ass back in here. It’s time to run a few more tests on our little pet.

Chapter 1

Abby

February 1, 2005

For those who know me, they know I am not a morning person. I’ve never been a morning person. Even though I have motivation to get out of bed today, at 4:00 a.m., I’m far from that. I wanted to chuck my alarm across the room and go back to sleep. Sometimes being an adult sucks.

Today happens to be an important day. My research team and I finally get to move into our new facility. Well, new to us anyways. It’s an underwater habitat off the coast of the small Northern Mariana Islands. The Mariana Islands were named after Queen Mariana by the Spaniards and are one of the islands close to the Mariana Trench. The islands contain the summits of fifteen usually dormant volcanic mountains. This habitat is almost a mile away from the reefs near the islands. The navy calls the habitat the Underwater Exploration and Research Facility. My group likes to call it the Bubble. As my friend Fred likes to point out, it’s full of air and surrounded by water, so it’s the more logical name for it.

For the last two months, our little science group has been working for the US Navy. They approached us out of the blue and right in the middle of a dive off the coast of Florida to recruit us. Their offer was exactly what our new team needed, making it seem too good to be true.

The navy had already built a habitat and was needing to hire outside help. They want it set up to be self-sustaining for a large number of people for at least year. From what I got from it, that is anywhere from forty to sixty people. The facility’s original purpose was not disclosed to us. Though, they did tell us that a small group of medical researchers are using the facility. The sheer size of the habitat is unheard of. Most habitats are tiny and can only sustain a few people for a couple of weeks.

Our team has a variety of people with different areas of expertise and knowledge. As a group though, our main study is underwater living. This job offer, though it seemed an enormous task to take on, is perfect for us.

It took us two whole days to finally agree that we shouldn’t look a gifted horse in the mouth and to accept the offer. Two of our group, Liam and Lee, were even taken to the habitat for a day and shown around the facility. From what they told us, it was a scientist’s wet dream. Of course, we did have our own demands as well no matter how nice the habitat is. What we all finally agreed upon, the navy and us, was pretty simple. We help them to get the habitat up and running and to be self-sufficient as possible. In return, we get to use one of the larger labs for our research. Last minute, the first recruiter threw in that we would also be required to help study certain samples from the medical teams already down there. The catch, any significant findings go to the military first.

That last little bit threw up a suspicious red flag for me. I pointed out that we study marine animals and not humans. The second recruiter reassured me that it was sea animal samples they would be bringing us. After that, everyone was pretty much on board.

The alarm goes off for the third time, and I drag myself out of bed. I drag my feet the short distance to the bathroom. Flicking the light on, I stare at my reflection in the mirror. I realize merely splashing water on my face isn’t going to cut it. Part of me wished I had got out of bed sooner so I could have made coffee. Looking a little closer, I see that my pale gray eyes seemed to be duller than usual. There are also dark circles underneath them, making my porcelain skin seem even paler than it is. I attempt to run my hands through my long, messy black hair but quickly give up. Turning away from the sink, I reach over and fumble with the shower knobs until the hot water starts running. For once I’m grateful for my small size. Only reaching 5’1" with a very slim and almost curveless figure, I still barely fit in the tiny box that is the shower.

After my quick shower, I double-check that all my bags are ready and waiting by the front door. With nothing else to do, I sit and wait for my ride.

Fred Wood, one of my closest friends, college buddy, as well as my colleague, should be arriving any minute to pick me up. From here, we’re to meet the rest of the team down at the docks. The navy has kindly provided a ride for us to our new facility.

Last week the habitat was deemed ready to move in, but the navy for some reason wanted us to wait an extra week. They only allowed two of our group to proceed down with a handful of new navy personal, just to make sure everything was indeed ready. Of course, the leader of our little nerd group, Liam Walsh, was one of the two.

Liam is the guy who slowly assembled the group and made it into a team. He worked a full-time job all through college. He didn’t stop at one area of study either. Liam became a commercial diver as well as earned a degree in marine science. I believe he also has a few classes under his belt for water technology and engineering. He has a military persona to him with the way he leads our group. A few times we have teased about how he directs the dives we go on as if we were doing a re-con mission.

Much to my dismay, Jenna Cash was the other member of our team picked to go early. Liam stated the reason she was going was because of her knowledge of underwater technology. Honestly, I think the navy (and Liam) approved her was because of her looks. Don’t get me wrong, Jenna is a hard worker. She’s smart, funny, and for the most part easy enough to get along with when we’re working. She just also happens to know how attractive she is and is far from humble about it.

Jenna is around average height with an hourglass figure. Her shoulder length, strawberry blonde hair always seems to fall perfectly into place. Her bright, green, doe eyes seem to give her an innocent look. Add in her cupid’s bow lips and busty chest, and she is quite the spectacle to behold. If she didn’t stir up so much drama with her latest fling, I could see myself asking her to hang out outside of work.

Jenna is also the reason why our living quarters were placed as far away from the navy’s as possible. The incident occurred about two weeks after we accepted the navy’s offer. Jenna and a low-ranking seaman got into quite a bit of trouble during our weeks of training on base. Long story short, they were exactly where they weren’t supposed to be after hours. Jenna batted her eyelashes and for the most part talked her way out of it. The worst she got was she had to be escorted by a female navy personnel the rest of our stay. The guy, well, we weren’t privy to all the details, but I heard it wasn’t pretty.

I reminded Liam of that incident when he first informed us that Jenna was going. A couple others joined the argument. Most agreed that someone else might be better suited to go first. That, of course, earned me a sour look from Jenna. Liam at least considered it but was over ruled by Captain Jennings in the end. Captain Adam Jennings is the man in charge of the facility. He also turned out to be one of the two men who approached us with the offer of working with the navy. It was one of the few things I found odd. I wouldn’t have ever guessed a high-ranking officer to come directly to recruit us. Then again, I’ve never been in the navy, so I guess it’s possible. Turns out that the captain wanted Jenna to take a look at one of the hand-held sonar guns. The one they have was still to bulky and Jennings wanted to see if Jenna could design something better.

A knock at the door pulls me from my thoughts. Fred has finally arrived.

I hurry to grab my three bags and give the small place one last look around. It’s smaller than a studio apartment and has barely enough room for one person. The living room is also the bedroom and the kitchen is only just bigger than my pint-size bathroom. Yet, it’s been home away from home the last three weeks, and I’ve grown quite found of the place. Compared to the dorms I stayed in during my four years of college, it’s been a bit of a luxury for me. I won’t be seeing it for at least a few months. The navy had bought a few dozen little bungalows spread out around Mariana Island. My little slice of heaven is nestled in Marine Beach along with the rest of my team and a dozen more around the island. The apartments are for us and other personnel to stay at while the habitat was nearing completion on the renovations and updates. We will be using the same places when we need to resurface again.

I open the door and immediately have a large paper coffee cup shoved in my face. Grinning, I take the cup and look to see my friend with an equally big grin on his face. Fred stands at about 5’9" with sun-kissed skin, surfer brown hair, and moss green eyes. Despite never working out, he has a muscular build to him. His nose is slightly crooked due to a disagreement he and one of his siblings had when they were younger. They only resolved their disagreement after Fred’s nose was broken and his brother had a black eye. He has dimples in his cheeks and even one on his chin, giving him a boyish charm. Fred, though considering he is almost twenty-six now, looks as though he is fresh out of high school.

Good morning, Abagail! Thought you could use a pick-me-up before we head out. Fred gives me a small wink. I also didn’t want to be stabbed if you hadn’t had any caffeine yet. His eyes twinkle with laughter. He knows I prefer Abby or even Abbs instead of my full name. The man is lucky to have brought me caffeine.

Rolling my eyes, I say, "You are one of the

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