Cam Joyce and the Deep Seeker
The submarine that Cam Joyce designed and had constructed at the New Camden Shipyard, was finished and christened the Deep Seeker, with a bottle of bubbly smashed across its bow before launching on a grey, blustery, cloudy March afternoon. The sleek matte black shape slid down the slipway on airbags and entered the water with minimal splashing. The sub was ready to begin sea trials.
“I plan to run the trials along the East Coast. After those are complete, it’ll be your turn to try out the light arms,” Joyce said to Octavian. “When you are satisfied that the arms reliably deploy and the lights work, we’ll take the Deep Seeker to the West Coast off San Diego.
“Just as well to run the trials here,” replied Octavian. “There’ve been less reports of contacts with the squids in the Atlantic than the Pacific. Until we’re sure that we can record light patterns and immediately have the arms display them back, we don’t want to meet the actual ones.”
“You still worried about what it was you flashed on that towed display that provoked the squid into attacking it?” Joyce asked. “I told you that the sub’s hull can be electrified so that any attacking squid will be strongly discouraged.”
“Best to be careful,” Octavian replied.
The submarine sailed off the coasts of New Jersey, Delaware, and Virginia in a variety of conditions to test its seaworthiness, controls and handling. Then for the next month, while a surface tug boat towed a subsurface rack with lights flashing in programmed patterns, the sub’s computer was run through its paces proving that it could control the ten light arms to rapidly reproduce whatever was displayed. The few electro-mechanical glitches that were found were corrected and finally Cam Joyce and Wilhelm Octavian were satisfied. The submarine was loaded and secured onto the deck of a large transport ship that sailed down the East Coast into the Caribbean, transversed the Panama Canal, entered the Pacific, and finally brought the sub to its home port in San Diego.
“The Deep Seeker just arrived yesterday,” Carlos announced at dinner.
“Can we visit it!?” asked Ceci. “We’re on break next week.”
“Don’t you have a paper due right after the break?” noted Jessica.
“Yeah, but I’m not worried. I already have what I’m going to say mapped out in my mind.”
“I’ll see if I can get Wili’s okay,” said Carlos. “Shouldn’t be a problem, since Joyce is inviting the media to visit on Tuesday.”
After touring the submarine and watching videos of the light arms in action, Cecie expressed her reservations about the project to Carlos and Jessica.
“It’s a pretty complicated systems of mechanical arms and lights. But it really doesn’t look like a squid.”
“Not supposed to,” Carlos said. “The arms are designed to reflect back whatever the squids flash, to hold their interest and keep them around.”
“But if the squids are as intelligent as we think they are, won’t they quickly see through what’s going on? When you and Dr. Octavian shot the video of the squid attacking your light display, you didn’t know why it did. The same thing could happen this time.”
“The sub has an electrical defense system that Joyce feels certain will discourage any attack,” said Carlos.
“Well, I hope there’s no attack in the first place, and second, I hope that if there is, the system works as planned. After all, this time Dr. Octavian and Mr. Joyce will be down there.” said Cecie.
“Wili’s a careful scientist and not likely to take unusual risks. He believes that it should be safe. He saw the defense system demonstrated and was impressed by its power,” Carlos said. “It’s the chance of a lifetime to actually be down there with the squids! I’d love to be going too.”
“Even so, I’m glad you haven’t been invited along,” said Cecie.
So am I, thought Jessica, as she leaned over and gave Carlos a kiss.