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November 21, 2019 13 mins

Unarmed and bloodied, Synøve Pan must find way out of the deep sea dominion of the Tritons -- but ascension comes at a price. 

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Episode Transcript

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Speaker 1 (00:00):
M follows the production of my R Radio. This episode
contains depictions of drug use and mild violence. The second
oil age, Jack's was dead. I stripped her of her

(00:40):
skin suit. The blood from her shattered nose dribbled through
the lines in her face. It pulled in the sutured
wound down her cheek. Bruising and fingertip contusions on her
throat told the story of her death. As I pulled
one of her arms out of this suit, I glimpsed

(01:01):
to name and date tattooed on her shoulder. I tried
to block it out, to banish it to the uncertainty
of peripheral vision, but the math was too easy, ramifications
too tragic, even with someone like her. My hands trembled
as I pulled the last leg free. I longed for

(01:23):
a shot of basilisk to wash it all away. The
fit wasn't perfect, but the suit would work. I grabbed
her communit and left the spent squid gun where it lay.
One of the twin plexiglass pods had already been emptied
by Hoffman, I imagined. I checked the other pod and

(01:46):
expected to find a Utex pressure suit inside, or something
like Thetis's get up. But this was even more alien,
more alive. It looked like a cross between a suit
of SA m R I armor and a mollusk open
wide to receive a humanoid form. The material looked neither

(02:07):
solid nor liquid, The outer surface dark and covered with
shell like bumps and walls. The pink, spongy interior left
little doubt of its organic nature. I knew what it was.
Marsh had mentioned Fukeland's disappearance in a portion of the proteus.

(02:27):
This was the Triton biotechnic repurposed as a pressure suit.
It made sense. No human technology would enable a seafloor
walk this deep down, not for landsfolk anyway. Numerous fears
tumbled through my mind. How was it activated? Would it
fit me? Was it safe? But I didn't have time.

(02:52):
It was this or nothing, the embrace of a living
pressure suit, or certain death in the tunnels beneath that us.
I slid open the plexiglass and watched tiny tube feet
and polyps rise up from the inner meat of the suit,
as if reaching for my body. I took a deep breath,

(03:14):
turned and backed into its embrace. The appendages crawled over me,
pulling the suit into position. The proteus grew around my body,
enclosing me like an iron maiden of amorphous flesh. I
realized the Tritons must have used something similar to bring

(03:34):
me down. It felt familiar. It hurt, but for only
a moment, the suit seemed to shift and adjust to
my size and shape, even my injuries. It hardened around me.
I felt soft pressure against my nose and mouth. Then

(03:55):
I was breathing again. Everything went dark for a moment,
then swelled back into existence. I don't know if I
stared through transparent tissue or if the proteus connected with
my mind somehow, but I looked down at my hands,
now seamless gauntlets of crustacean armor. I stepped out of

(04:19):
the pod. I grabbed the wheel of the airlock and
gave it a turn, then another. I glanced one last
time down the tunnel for sign of Thetis or Triton pursuers,
but there was only Jacks's crumpled corpse, her daughter's name
gleaming back at me in the harsh light. I threw

(04:41):
open the hatch and jumped down the well of depressurized water.
The hatch closed after me, and the chamber flooded. It
pressurized in less than a minute. The suit didn't so
much as groan but SALTI. We can't live in a

(05:13):
san cat though. We're not even gonna do when attack
comes in. It's o Kape Valley. I built another than
cattle ands at the proof Forlorman about Sauti, it's not
how living on her surface works. The seawater keeps wating
because of climate cheek nursery. That's a fearmongering by anti

(05:37):
energy obstruction is who you? You don't want to live
in the castle. I ne cheve in it where it's dry,
but her pass for you. You have salt water, dude,
and we can still be playing them make My name

(06:19):
is Tabitha Vail, and I'm leaving this recording on a
dead man switch for release at the eating of the Mess.
I want there to be evidence of where I went
and why I did it. I've arranged passage to Atlas station,
the DX Degrade station. There's a high probability I'll wind
up in custody, and I'm uncertain what steps they might
take to silence the press. But there's a story there

(06:41):
that needs to be told. They're listening to this, they're
aware of my journalistic focus what it means to be recombined,
or to be landsfolk, or on whichever side of all
of the other lines in the sand we used to
turn human against human, on what continues to divide us
in a time when connection might just be enough to
save us, and on the rare corners of society we
actually foster connection. Atlas, It's one of those places. I've

(07:04):
obtained passage aboard a cargo sub and I have limited
arrangements on Alice. I'm depowering my community for the journey.
Hopefully this message will prove unnecessary. Thank you for believing
in me and in a better world. I emerged in

(07:39):
new absolute darkness, the very darkness. I realized that covers
most of the Earth. Eternal midnight is the true norm
on our planet, interrupted by occasional sunlit shallows and the
rise of continents. The surface is but a fraction. I

(08:01):
took a step into the unknown and felt rock and
mud slide beneath my feet. Panic shattered through me, and
then a lamp bloomed to life somewhere above my head,
casting a meager sphere of bio illumination in the thick,
gloomy waters. The glow was enough to reveal the airlock

(08:23):
hatch set in the jagged outcropping above my head, as
well as the small cliff upon which I stood. Utter
emptiness yawned beyond the trench, plummeting hatal depths. I backed
away from the brink, my limbs moving as if in jelly.

(08:46):
I turned toward the adjacent cliff side and noticed first
one reflector topped steak, then another marking the path of ascension,
a narrow, snaking trail up the side of the great trench.
I turned and followed. Visibility was limited. The bioluminescence revealed

(09:08):
no more than three stakes at a time. I had
no way of telling how far ahead Hoffmann had gotten,
or how far up I had to climb to reach
the plateau. So I plodded along the suit, seeming to
augment my steps just enough to prevent outright exhaustion. At

(09:29):
times I caught movement out beyond the orb light and
panicked till I realized that pursuers would not be so shy.
If they knew where I was, then they'd simply take me.
More likely, it was some animal of the deep, intrigued
by the light. I don't know how long I climbed.

(09:52):
Occasionally my feet slipped on the rocks and mud, but
each time I avoided the spill. Finally I saw the
faint aura of the cliffs above me. It couldn't be
more than a ten minute climb. I paused and stared
off once more into the vastness of the trench, one

(10:14):
of the many deep sea gouges that the Tritons called home.
The darkness seemed to move, and at first I suspected hallucination.
I had never gone this long without the drug. But
then I glimpsed the faint tinkle of bioluminescence. A writhing

(10:37):
wall of viscous aglutinations moved within my light, a tapestry
of coiling tentacles that continually formed and dissolved as it
moved through the void. It was the Proteus, or at
least some massive portion of it, en route to or
returning from its toil. I couldn't guess that it's eyes.

(11:03):
I quickly turned to redouble my efforts lest it somehow
alert its masters to my whereabouts. I climbed until the
plateau opened up before me. There squatted the vibrant blur
of Atlas Station and its surrounding spill of infrastructure. The
squalid desolation of Ludex I marked the gleam of departing subs,

(11:27):
mostly larger crew transports evacuation protocol. The reflector stakes marked
a path to the nearest airlock. So I slogged on
through the mud and gravel toward the abattoir that awaited
me in those haunted halls. Yeah. The second oil Age

(12:12):
was produced by Robert Lamb, Alex Williams, Lauren vogel Bond,
and Josh Than. This episode featured Angel Masters as sinov Pond,
Lauren vogel Bond as Tabitha Vale, and Jonathan Strickland as
Salty Squid, supporting voice work by Gina Rikiki intro outro,
and supporting music created by the Weirding Module. Learn more

(12:35):
at Module dot band camp dot com. For more podcasts

(13:08):
from I heart Radio, visit the i heart Radio app,
Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to your favorite shows.
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