THE HYDRONAUT ADVENTURES
by Carl L. Biemiller
The combined books of The Hydronauts,
Follow the Whales and Escape from the Crater.
Published by Doubleday & Company, Inc., Garden City, New York.
|Copyright © 1981 by Eric Biemiller
Please respect the copyrights.
|Links to the books follow this introduction.|
It had been nearly ten years since the Warden Service of the International Marine Council had brought them together, and nearly five since the Service split the teams.
Now they were seated in a regional headquarters office on a granite island once designated on the ancient maps as Cloud Peak in an area known as the Great Smokies.
Lieutenant Commanders Kim Rockwell, Toby Lee, Tuktu Barnes, and Genright Selsor had seen a lot of duty since they first met in the kelp forests patrolling the sub-sea harvest sectors.
Rockwell thought they all looked precisely the same as he had seen them last. Maybe not quite at that. Genright had been given another white arm to match the one the regeneration doctors had replanted from the body banks when he lost the first of his birth arms to a giant squid. The rest of his sleek and wiry black body looked fit as ever, and there was change in his broad, white smile.
Toby Lee was still a golden oriental doll of a woman, although perhaps a bit wan from her last few years in a hive city laboratory. And Tuktu was Tuktu, a square rock of a man, who for sometime now had been commanding abyss explorer divers seeking new cargo routes beneath the polar ice caps.
Rockwell thought he hadn’t changed any too much physically. He still combed the same, almost platinum-blond hair, and smeared algae depilatory over the same lean face each day, and still peered at the world through eyes nearly as green as water over a sunlit reef.
Nonetheless, in another year or so, they’d all be ready for the first of the re-gen treatments which would re-set cellular patterns and functions, and monitor organic chemistries into new metabolic efficiencies. They’d be thirty years old, and every decade passed from then, the re-gen wizards would rewind their physical clocks unless some hazard of sea duty removed them from the Service roster before treatment times.
“Well, Commander, did you get us here to tell us that we get six months sunshine leave with extra pay, or do we get some nasty, nasty, uncomfortable, maybe scary duty like a bottom tour with Tuktu?” asked Genright.
“Relax, Commanders,” said Kim, “this is a reunion with almost no work involved.”
“Say it,” said Toby Lee.
“We are going to be heroes, educators, administrators, and guardians to a new batch of earth savers. And we are going to inspire them to great deeds of duty which, incidentally, may help them uplift our survival civilization into some semblance of permanence.”
“I can’t inspire anybody today, and tomorrow I plan to report in as a very sick man.”
“Whoever thought up whatever it is, is also sick.”
“As you know,” continued Kim softly, “from time to time, the Council of Cities declares certain of the old radiation-polluted earth sectors suitable, or maybe I should say, feasible for re-population.
“The gene banks, the seminal laboratories, the birthing tanks, and the subsequent science nurseries usually pre-condition the children for the tasks they will ultimately perform within the colonial societies. Then the psych and physical educators take over for whatever adjustments are needed to make our people happy and productive in whatever tasks are elected for them.
“I don’t have to tell you that, no matter what, humanity often strikes back with all sorts of natural gene recombinants. And anyhow, natural mate selection and parenthood was never banned, just controlled.”
“I come from uncontrolled stock,” said Genright.
“I come from natural stock controlled by my grandmother’s brother who inherited three whale harpoons found by an Aleut who took ‘em off a party of Cryos who had been frozen in a berg before the first nuclear fire storm,” added Tuktu.
“I was naturally selected from a Japanese test tube,” smiled Toby Lee sweetly.
“The Council of Cities is re-thinking some of its population processes,” said Kim blandly. “The geneticists, and all the DNA controllers, and now, even the psychological bureaucrats, are beginning to suspect that there is a missing element in science produced humanity.
“Some of them have been researching the old religious libraries and looking up old poets in search of it. They haven’t come up with a name for it yet, and they sure won’t call it freedom, which is what they think blew up the world in the first place.”
“Will you get to it,” demanded Toby Lee.
“Where are we besides here?” asked Genright.
“So the Council authorized a relatively small batch of breeding stock, natural parents having natural children, about fifteen years ago without saying anything about it to the population controllers.
“There are about a thousand or so of these young people now.
“The Council also created a special body of educators who investigated all the pre-war records they could find concerning the better types of education available to young people…say in the years between 1976 and the first of the old missile attacks. And the kids were given that sort of education and its disciplines. But they were not laboratory controlled, not exposed to all the scientific advances evolved since.
“The Council wanted to create a new batch of survivors as nearly like the one who built the hive cities and our present day social and economic structures. Am I making myself clear?”
“Not very,” said Tuktu. “I think slowly.”
“Ah, ha! And the special new young are going to be located and populate the new feasible land sites,” said Toby Lee.
“Seed them,” said Kim. “The Warden Service has been assigned a cadre of them for the same sort of duties we all know so well. The kids will be trained as we were from scratch. But there’s a big difference. They’ll be unconditioned volunteers…kids choosing the Service if they want it, not grooved into it from birth. And they can drop out of it at any time. We don’t use that word freedom, but that’s what they’ll have. And they’re going to accept the discipline and training because they want to accept them…freely chosen survival by the special tasks of the special people they want to be.”
“Oh boy…the first time a shark takes a leg from volunteer Charlie Free, he takes his other one home to the body bank for replacement and turns to counting dry-land chickens,” grunted Tuktu.
“Not if he loves his guardians, instructors, his work, and discovers that the Service is lovable and all its people are lovable like me,” said Genright.
“You’ve got it,” said Kim.
“What have I got?” asked Genright.
“Two white arms and a ten-tank mouth,” said Tuktu.
“You’ve got the essence of our new assignment,” said Kim. “We are going to inspire by knowledge, experience, and example whatever it is within the new young that the laboratory snoopers can’t define or measure…that natural stuff that makes them want to get the job done just because it’s there to be done.
“And I know you’ll be surprised to learn that some of the educational materials for the new colony, which, incidentally, is located on the beaches of Mount Everest, is a collection of our old assignment reports, case histories of our work at sea.”
“Why us?” asked Toby Lee.
“Do you remember that old boss of everybody named Commander Brent?” asked Genright.
“That wonderful, dedicated, best leader the Service ever had?” asked Toby Lee.
“Commander Brent thought that a collected record of some of the things that happened to us, and how we coped with them when we were about the same ages of the new colony youngsters, might be instructive.”
“He never said it that way,” said Toby Lee.
“You’re right. The way I heard it, the old man said that the new kids would get a big laugh out of Rockwell’s knuckleheads and a lot of comfort out of knowing that the Service can make heroes out of practically anybody who can learn to swim.”
“He never said it that way either,” said Toby Lee.
“I’ll bet he said something about courage and pride and fear and fun and teamwork and the good of the Service,” said Tuktu slowly.
“He did,” said Kim. “He did indeed.”
“Are our old assignment records going to be a book, a big fat book with a name like ‘Isotopic Forms of Fusiform Feet for Rock Climbing Mutant Fur Bearing Mammal Mutants’?” asked Genright.
“The reports will be in a single-volume book. The man putting them together is a Cryo dug out of a freeze-and-life system that a benthic sediment archeological team found. He was first-life alive back in the last part of the twentieth century.”
“He’s calling the reports ‘The Hydronaut Adventures.’”
|Book One, The Hydronauts||Book Two, Follow The Whales||Book Three, Escape From The Crater|
|If you have any comments about these books, please contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org|
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