Artist's rendering of Horizo female

Artist’s rendering of Vertic citizen

As a youngth, Oroch, a Horizo, develops a fascination that will haunt him throughout his life. He wonders if there is a world beyond water. His civilization dwells 15,000 feet underwater and because of their physiology cannot rise above 9,000 feet without dying. The Horizos are an aggressive, adventurous species. Upon maturity Oroch finds himself in a romance with Sheema, a Vertic. The Vertics are related to Horizos but have spread further and developed a far richer culture and complacent serenity. Vertics and Horizos are ancient enemies, and a romance between any two is considered a doomed rarity.

A third intelligent species takes the stage in the person of Targo the tangleshock.

Tangleshocks are considerably different from Vertics or Horizos. While every bit as intelligent, tangleshocks have no technology or external culture, but they command a fantastic control over bioelectricity. Targo is a giant among them, beleaguered by a constant following of admiring tanglefries that are snatching the best food first. Targo is also pestered by constant reminders that tangleshocks are trying to join the civilized Vertics in mutual recognition and so are beginning to make up strict rules they call “laws.” Targo is not only gigantic, he’s 3,000 recurrents old, much older than most living tangleshocks. These laws seem unfair to him. They favor the small and weak and are counter to nature’s allowances. Secretly, Targo makes plans to leave his homeland of 750 recurrents and go out to explore the yet vast unknown parts of the sea. But the tangleshocks will need him to protect them from genocide waged by the increasingly deadly Horizos. The Vertic can’t, because they’re being overwhelmed by Horizos, too.

Add to the mix a strange, alien intruder – humanity – whose existence verifies the possibility that life has somehow evolved beyond water. For these beings inside the long hot shells (submarines) are not of this ocean.

Hadal Benthos, the sub commander, believes that he’s practicing for survival of a global catastrophe, little realizing that he’ll become a specimen in a completely unexpected lab, a startling revelation to sciartists of the deep that life does exist somewhere outside of water!

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