It was six months after his wedding to Jessica. Although Carlos and Dr. Octavian were still intrigued by the “Squidzillas” which was now the default media name for the gigantic squids, money to study them was nonexistent. Most oceanic research funding was focused on the effects of warming climate, warming seas, and coastal flooding.
Dr. Octavian burst excitedly into Carlos’ small office, “We have a funding source!” He said, waving his tablet.
“For what?” asked Carlos.
“To study giant squids!”
“What or who came through at last?” asked Carlos.
“Here, take a look,” said Dr. Octavian, holding out the tablet.
“Whoa. Cam Joyce. The Cam Joyce?”
“Yes. The Renaissance Man. Movie producer, writer, inventor, rocket man, composer, multi-billionaire, and ocean enthusiast!”
“And he wants to fund us?” asked Carlos.
“He is excited about the squids, and he wants us to help him get down among the gigantic squids, or Squidzillas, as the media calls them. If we help with the science, he will do the hardware.”
“You mean to go in a submarine? Why not just use drones?” asked Carlos.
“That’s not his style. The first privately launched moon landing with him echoing Armstrong? He wants to be there in person and he wants me to go with him on the dives. It’s the chance of a lifetime!”
“With all that’s been happening, do you think that’s safe? The Blue Seas ship disappeared while protecting migrating whales. And remember that the Institute auto sub was attacked and we really don’t know what provoked it. Was there a message in the flashing lights that we recorded from the squids that upset them?” said Carlos.
“I made Joyce aware of the details of our encounter, and he said he would build a defense system into the sub to be safe,” replied Octavian.
“I don’t know.” said Carlos. “The sheer size and power of that squid that attacked our Institute sub! Short of explosives like the Sea Defender used, I wonder what type of defense would be effective.”
“He’s seen our footage, and the videos that the Sea Defender crew took of their successful intercepts of squids attacking whales so he’s aware of what he’s potentially facing,” replied Octavian. “And anyway, he’s not planning to be a squid hunter, he just wants to sail with them.”
“Yes, but will the squids know that he means them no harm? We still don’t know what really happened to the Sea Defender.”
“Stick with the science and don’t let your imagination run wild,” said Octavian.
Three years later
The Blue Seas organization announced a successful conclusion to its three-year long fund drive to replace the sunken Sea Defender with two smaller craft equipped with armed drones to accompany and protect migrating Humpback and Grey whales from “Squidzillas”. Not only were there a number of very large donations, but the nationwide involvement of school children in the campaign was key to its success. They will be named Whale Defender I and Whale Defender II.
“Mom, Carlos, did you see the news?!” Cecilia said in the outraged tone that only a pre-teen can summon. “The Blue Seas people can’t leave well enough alone! They’re going to outfit two ships just to stalk and kill gigantic squids! It’s like in the novel I just read, Moby Dick. Captain Ahab pursuing the white whale.”
The Joyce Institute announced today that a deep diving research submarine designed by Cam Joyce to study the Squidzillas is nearing completion and will be in sea trials later this year if all goes according to schedule. Mr. Joyce plans to operate it himself to study the squids in their normal deep environment. He is being assisted in this undertaking by Dr. Wilhelm Octavian of the Sears Institute.