Who wants some fiction? A tale of a cruise ship on the high seas when the world is attacked by Lovecraftian sea monsters, Champion of the Seas is, I think, pretty good. This is the second full yarn in the “War With The Deep Ones” book that I’ve released; the first being “Honolulu.” I also released a bit from the “interstitial tales” that will be wedged between the main stories.
To read a preview of the story and to order the whole thing in PDF & EPUB formats, click the “Continue Reading” below.
Champion of the Seas
By Scott Lowther
The great cruise ship Champion Of The Seas was running its four turbine engines at full power. The output of the turbines was converted to electricity to power four massive superconducting electric motors in rotating pods beneath the hull; the motors turned the propellers at a rate they had never been designed for. She was making 33 knots, two knots above the ships previously assumed top speed. And that was not near fast enough.
She was the latest and greatest cruise ship in the Caribbean. Normally, deep into the night and far from port, a ship like this would have been lit up brighter than a city. It would have been visible from space. It was a floating, moving playground for the rich, the middle class who’d saved up and the poor with miserable financial planning skills. It was packed with every amenity imaginable to keep its 8,500 passengers entertained and diverted as it made the rounds from Fort Lauderdale to the US Virgin Islands to St. Lucia, Grenada, Aruba, Jamaica, and the Bahamas, back to Florida. Captain Schmidtt had been, so far, pleased with the new vessel.
Normally, it would be lit up. Normally it would be cruising at a sedate 25 knots. Normally the bridge would have at most a half dozen crewmen on it. Normally at this hour Captain Schmidtt would be in his quarters in a deep contented sleep. None of these were true at that moment.
The majority of ships lighting was shut off. The ship was virtually invisible from outside, only a few navigation lights burning. The passengers were in their quarters; the common areas were closed down, lights off, air conditioning off. Every non-essential was shut off; every last available watt was being fed into the propulsion system. The decorative flags were taken down and the storm covers slid in place over the external decks in order to reduce drag by even just a tiny bit.
The darkened bridge was a window-lined room covering the entire two-hundred foot width of the ship, but only twenty feet from fore to aft. In the middle of the bridge was the central console with all of the primary controls for the six main bridge crewmen, like a smaller version of the bridge of the starship Enterprise. There were a number of extra crewmen on the bridge, lined up along the forward-facing bank of windows, all scanning the horizon with night vision binoculars.
Several monitors suspended from the ceiling just outside the perimeter of the central console were showing the news… CNN was currently rebroadcasting footage of the carnage in Fortaleza, Brazil. Fox was showing live scenes from Havana, Cuba, as the locals prepared and panicked. The BBC feed from London had stopped a few hours earlier and had been replaced by the BBC America feed out of New York, showing live scenes of the evacuation of the New York area and replays of the fighting in England.
When things started going down around the world, there had been a debate between the Captain and First Officer whether or not to shut down external communications in order to keep the passengers from seeing things that would make them panic. In the end it was decided to leave the channels open… if nothing else, the coverage made for fascinating viewing and would doubtless keep many glued to their seats. Shut off the TVs and people would have nothing to do but speculate, rumor-monger, panic and riot.
And right now, the crew had bigger things to worry about than panicky passengers. The world was ending.
The United States government had started vomiting forth information within a few hours of the invasion of Hawaii. Videos dating back to the 1930’s were made available describing the “Deep Ones” and showing how to fight them, a task for the heavily armed and well provisioned. The Champion Of The Seas, being a cruise ship, was virtually devoid of armament.
The US government highly recommended that everyone who could, evacuate at least fifty miles from the ocean… good advice when threatened by amphibious sea monsters. But it was difficult for those on a ship at sea. So the Captain of the Champion Of The Seas promptly set a course back to Fort Lauderdale.
The math didn’t work, though. The sea monsters always struck at dawn, and the eastern horizon behind the speeding ship was already glowing. Sunrise was only an hour away, but Fort Lauderdale was further. There were not many options, so they drove onwards.
The rest of Champion of the Seas is available in dual PDF and EPUB formats for $1.50, purchasable via PayPal with just the click of the button below.