Chapter 27 - The Duchess Heissenberger

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11th September 2311 12:19 EST - Space was cold, dark and deadly but it was also serene and magnificent, something the ocean appeared to share in abundance. As Jason was dropped into the ocean in a submersible it had initially felt turbulent and angry, yet the deeper he went, the more it reminded him of the dark unknown.

The blue water gradually turned black as darkness enveloped him, yet the darkness was different from the great beyond. In space, it was a clear, endless void that appeared to spiral into eternity. The ocean, however, felt like a heavy curtain, clouding all around him and causing the submersible to creak in protest.

Space was devoid of life, yet the ocean had it in abundance. Even as the submersible reached over one thousand metres in-depth, the creatures that littered the area were rampant, swimming around in their seemingly random patterns, looking more alien than the ones that humans were currently at war with.

Gliding through the blackness of the ocean, in the far distance, small balls of light, no bigger than a pinprick, could be seen struggling through the water. As the submersible edged forward and the light appeared less blurred, Jason knew the journey was coming close to an end.

The autopilot, with its impressive almost quiet propulsion system, had been pushing Jason for quite some time and he yearned to place his feet on solid ground, so as the huge underwater facility came into focus he sighed in relief and anticipation.

The mysterious dark cloud the ocean provided meant that, despite getting closer to the facility, he was unable to see its end, with only the opening hangar doors and some other habitats visible from his cockpit.

Gliding into the facility seemed to replace his anticipation with trepidation when the darkness was replaced with the overwhelming light of the hangar bay. Bobbling up to the surface compounded his apprehension when several members of the security personnel, with pistols resting in their holsters, when waiting for his arrival. The crash of the waves against the submersible seemed to only add to the turmoil running through his mind.

The cockpit opened, allowing Jason to stretch his aching legs. Grabbing hold of a rail lifting up to a gangway, he pulled himself onto the sturdy walkway. He felt his legs groan in pleasure as each step forward eased his muscles back into life and a small smile edged his face as he noticed one of the security personnel was that of his lost love Jacqueline Donnelly.

"Mr Standerwick, welcome to the Eagle's Den." the head security guard commented as he moved forward to intercept Jason.

"Eagle's Den?" Jason asked, "I can't imagine an eagle would be fond of a place like this."

The Head of Security reacted minimally, disregarding Jason's attempt at humour with ease. His glazed look from his hazel eyes was full of suspicion, watching Jason's every motion.

If being one thousand metres under the ocean hadn't already placed Jason on edge, then this man certainly would have.

Jason raised his hand in greeting towards the security guard. The guard looked, and smirked, before turning and heading towards the end of the gangway.

"I am Jackson Turnball, the Duchess' head of security, and your escort for the duration of your visit here. I run a tight ship here and expect you to follow all the rules I set while you perform your repairs on the sewerage system. Do you understand?"

Jackson Turnball's abrupt and stern behaviour, backed by his greyish black buzz-cut hair and his determined posture, screamed of an ex-military background. Turning toward the other members of the security team, Jason noticed the similarities in posture and hairstyles. Each of them must have had a background in the military and was now earning a hefty package in private security.

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