Author : Julian Miles, Staff Writer

The shades of green here are like nowhere else in the world.

“Pre-zent arms!”

With a metallic crash, fourteen biobots swing their gantry guns skyward as their right arms raise in salute. The bier passes with a soft hum, the incongruously gentle sound of suppressor fields warring with the emissions from the remains within. Captain Martina Durren is coming home.

Somewhere under the depths of the Mindanao Deep, they found an Atlantean ‘submarine’. That being the only word applicable, although the vessel relates to nuclear submarines in the way that they relate to a toy submarine in a kid’s bath.

Unfortunately this incredible discovery was not made public. Taylor Nesmith, founder of the massive Interseas Group, decided to use the secrets in his attempt to become King of the World.

The bier comes to rest over the eighteen metre deep lead-lined pit.

“Fro’ rank, fire!”

Seven beams of coherent light stab skywards. The smell of scorched leaves and burnt rain is fitting as the bier sinks from view.

The wreck had contained weapons of the kind that sank Atlantis. Nesmith released recovered evidence proving that the sinking of that fabled place occurred during a war. Then he threatened by taking out a couple of uninhabited Pacific islands. When governments responded by increasing their efforts to stop him and his international corporation turned military combine, he sank Hawaii.

Historians were arguing about ‘what type of war’ and ‘who with’ when descendants of Atlantis’ opponents made representation to the United Nations via Peruvian envoys.

“Sec’n rank, fire!”

The Valusians are a reptilian race, distant relations of the dinosaurs. Decimated by the event that annihilated their kin, they lived in isolated communities until the Atlanteans hunted and waged war upon them to obtain technologies the Valusians refused to disclose. We know how well that went for Atlantis, but the victory was pyrrhic. The same technologies that caused the war now underpin our biomechanica. The Valusians worked with the UK military because their only salvageable technical city lay under the Norfolk Fens. The SAS work with them because our skills and temperament matches that of their combative caste, the Sheshna.

The assault on Nesmith’s ‘capital’ deep in the Gobi Desert caught him unprepared. A hundred biobots tore his nascent global empire to shreds.

His last act was to unleash a shoal of neo-Atlantean ‘geonukes’ from what we had thought was a minor outpost in the Okhotsk Abyss. The only one that detonated did so in the seabed midway between Norwich and Rotterdam. Scientists say the subsidence effect is pretty much the same as if the sea level had risen sixty metres over a radius of a thousand kilometres.

“Port arms!”

The reason we’re not all drowning is Martina. She led the raid on the Okhotsk installation. Quickly realising that taking the base from the overwhelming opposition or stopping the shoal was impossible, she ordered her team to stall the defenders while she tore the exotically radioactive cores from the ‘geonukes’ by hand. The shoal launched just as she reached the last one, the backlash mercifully killing her.

Her last words were: “Lay me down where I can see the loch through the trees.”

We marched from Magadan, escorting her home. Every city on the way stopped as people turned out to honour her passing.

On this chilly October morning I’m looking down on Loch Aslaich, knowing my bonny lass is home at last. I’ll no be joining her for a bit, but she said she didn’t mind.


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