Dr. Astrid’s team had been pulled from their humpback travel pattern study, because the government had pulled rank and commandeered her submersible to help locate a downed aircraft nearby. Not that she minded helping in the rescue effort, but it would have been nice to have been asked.
It was some military cargo plane flying a route that she didn’t need to know, apparently, with which they lost contact two days before, and it should have crashed approximately ten nautical miles from the area she and her assistants had been researching. So instead of listening to whale song, she had to comfort herself with the regular blips of the tracking tags. Little dots showed Leonore where her giant, cetacean babies were.
And then they weren’t. It took her a moment to realize why she felt uneasy, sitting in the underwater craft, staring at yet more empty water where there should be a military plane. She realized it was the silence. Her instruments had stopped picking up the tracking devices on her humpbacks, all at once. In fact, there was nothing registering around her on radar. The computer was functioning just fine otherwise. She tapped the screen anyway. Nothing.
Suddenly the radar went crazy. Leonore stared, open-mouthed at the mass of fish that surged around the craft on every side. Creatures of every kind, from squid to a scattering of sharks, were all swimming in one school, all in one direction. It was unprecedented.
The marine biologist turned on the hull camera. It immediately turned back off. She watched as every system of the submersible go dark, one by one. Suddenly she was in blackness, surrounded by heavy silence for hundreds of feet in every direction.
The craft jerked, pushed aside and flipped over and over by some kind of wake. Leonore braced herself as the submersible rolled, and she started hyperventilating. For something to create this kind of water displacement as it moved, its size would have to be… incomprehensible. She could actually feel static crackling in her teeth as this thing passed her by.
When her crew retrieved her two days later, she was catatonic, repeating the same word over and over: “Leviathan.”