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Author Topic: No Man Survives  (Read 557 times)

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Offline Handsome Foreigner

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No Man Survives
« on: February 18, 2019, 12:55:10 PM »
Hi guys,

I hope to get something more substantial to you in the coming days, but I'm still mulling over some things and thought that this thread might serve as a nice teaser if nothing else. I'm a great lover of ~150 year old (proto-?)Sci-fi and adventure novels. Recent rereads of '20000 Leagues Under The Sea' and it's crossover sequel 'The Mysterious Island" have struck me with just how awesome a character Captain Nemo is. He's a badass outlaw with a tragic backstory and a death wish. He's a great mind with a capacity for cunning probably not explored enough by Verne. He flits between laconic one-word answers and and an equally obscuring verbosity when he philosophises about the sea. And he's a nonwhite, anti-oppression archangel of vengeance antihero fit for (post?)postmodernity.

As you may have guessed from my fanboying, the result here is probably what those kids call a fan fiction in the works. I have what I think is a fairly solid outline for a short story, maybe even the beginnings of a series - we'll see. Anyway, a summation of my ideas is below, do let me know what you think.

It's the immediate aftermath of 20000 Leagues... Nemo, that Nautilus and it's crew all plunge into the maelstrom where the nautilus is dragged down and pitches into the ocean floor. The nautilus is severely damaged by the impact. The main ballast controlling the submarine's buoyancy is breached. One of the lower decks begins to fill with water. Air pressure inside the hull is rapidly ebbing away. Queue dim, fizzling lights; weeping, terrified sailors; Das Boot esque claustrophobic suspense. Nemo rallies the crew to tackle the most urgent issues, splitting them into two groups. The first group is to seal the lower deck hull from within and then form a bucket brigade, shifting the water to a bilge compartment where it can be pumped out. The second group dons diving gear and accompanies Nemo OUTSIDE of the Nautilus to repair the holes in the ballast. They enter into pitch darkness. Raising their lights they reveal a graveyard f ships previously pulled under by the maelstrom, as well as a deep fissure billowing black smoke ominously. Noting from the fissure that tectonic activity in the area is the likely cause of the maelstrom, Nemo and the crew get to work. Nearing completion of the repairs, the crew is attacked by the denizens of the deep which swarm out of the fissure, attracted by the lights and movement. I'm not sure whether to stay close to the source material here with something like giant squid, or to do something more fantastical akin to the Trench from Aquaman. Cast your votes. Nemo and the crew are forced to retreat back into the relative safety of the Nautilus. Several die but the repairs are accomplished. Nemo orders the anxious remaining crew to blow the ballasts while the deep's denizens continue to slam into the exterior hull. DISASTER! Too much air pressure has already been lost and the Nautilus is unable to reach the buoyancy needed to lift it off the sea bed. Panic sets ins it is surmised that the crew have mere hours left until they succumb to carbon dioxide poisoning. A senior sailor, Jan Ziemczyk, speaks up while having a near breakdown. He recounts his past life as a minor Polish noble. He recalls of being made fugitive by the Russians. In many ways Jan's life is not unlike Nero's own background - an Indian Prince at the forefront of the Sepoy Rebellion. But Jan never did cut his ties to the surface world as easily as Nemo. He still longs for the past. Jan has given up so much to be on the Nautilus. His identity. His freedom. His hope of ever returning back home. And what has Nemo given him in return? A promise of safe harbour? Even that is in tatters now. Nemo's promise is nothing. HE is nothing, certainly not Jan's captain, if they are all to die here at the bottom of the sea. Nemo responds with silence. Jan begins to erupt again but is stopped as Nemo promises he has a plan. The Nautilus has no shortage of electricity nor sea water. They will raise the air pressure via hydrolysis. However, it is noted that this will also flood the ship with toxic chlorine (if my science is correct, as this is salty sea water). The crew will have to share a limited supply of oxygen canisters for the duration of their ascent. In addition, Chlorine is 2.5 times heavier than air so their ascent will be slower than usual - they haven't the time for that. The second part of the solution will be to dramatically speed the ascent. The billowing smoke from the fissure is doubtless a deep sea magma vent. If the Nautilus can be pulled over it, a controlled eruption could be sparked via explosives. The resulting waves heat unleashed into the ocean should produce an upward current and highly saline mineral brine (water density and hence the buoyancy of the nautilus rises with salinity) which is The Nautilus' only hope of surfacing in a timely manner. Jan is dumbfounded. Nero's plan involves the crew braving toxic gas, the sea creatures AND a volcanic eruption all at once - it's suicide. Jan flies into a rage, striking Nemo. The two men are quickly separated but it is clear that Jan has earned many sympathisers. The crew is on the brink of mutiny. Feeling the chill in the room, Nemo takes his leave and heads into the black waters alone. What happens next I am still mulling over how to handle well. Nemo likely takes on the sea beasts alone with a combination of cunning, flares, gadgetry, and badassery. Jan comes out to join him. Potentially for a showdown. Potentially to reluctantly assent to the plan and help Nemo accomplish it. The plan accomplishes pretty much as laid out and the Nautilus surfaces, ejects the chlorine for fresh air, and sails off into the sunset for future adventures.

My current thoughts are: That's a bigger block of text that I thought it would be, bless your poor poor eyes. The solution is a little eccentric of me on the believability scale, and I could probably do with more than two characters who aren't entirely there as red shirts. That said, I'm having fun writing this one. Comments are welcome.

Offline legomaestro

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Re: No Man Survives
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2019, 05:34:08 AM »
Well it certainly seems like you put a lot of thought into it. And as shameful a fact as it is to reveal... I haven't read 20,000 leagues under the sea yet. Or das Boot. But it's the second time I've heard of that series/movie. I hear the remake is being destroyed by people who loved the original, so I'm definitely going to be keeping my eye out for it.

Anyways I love situations that are based on the problems of extreme environments with good technical details and solutions to them. I can even tolerate one-dimensional characters if it's done well enough. A lot of the terms fly over my head but it can be pretty engrossing to read. Even HP Lovecrafts' massive wall o descriptions had a charm to them when you saw how travel and science was done back in the day (I mean it's still the same but the challenges seemed much grander back then.)