Keenan Cross

Abyssal (first draft)

Scene 3

The submersible

Shot from below as TECH opens the hatch to climb down in to the submersible.  As he starts it up, close up on the power and oxygen meters.  The light-amplifying cockpit first shows the small sub pen and compression chamber beyond, then the vast abyss.  Overhead shot of the sub exiting the lab, both illuminated only by the sub’s powerful headlight, which it turns off soon.

Close-up of the sub’s manipulator arms scraping the sand and sending various deep sea fish and arthropods scattering.  Inside the cockpit, TECH watches a night-vision screen that identifies the various species.  He guides the arms to safely capture one arthropod in gentle rubber brush fingers and deposit it in an underslung tank.  So far he only has two of seven species crossed off on the list of samples RESEARCHER requested.

The thrum of vents, motor, and water pressure are oppressive.  TECH rubs his eyes.  A human silhouette is just visible far out into the image of the ocean floor on the glass, but when TECH looks closer at it, there’s nothing there.  His ears are ringing.  He drifts forward, watching small fish and squid, scientific names and hi-res images provided by the windshield.  The sub gets farther and farther from the lab.  The power and oxygen readouts turn red as it approaches 50%, the point at which, if he does not turn back, there would not be enough air to get back.  TECH looks at the numbers.  The distance from the lab is 9.57 kilometers, and the sub’s remaining range is 9.71.  Those numbers creep closer together, and TECH doesn’t let up on the throttle.  The sounds of the submersible are overtaken by a tinnitus ring.  Finally he stops just before reaching the limit, breathes slowly, and turns around.


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