Night of the Day of the Whirlpool
Night of the Day of the Whirlpool
It was pitch black and the man had no idea where he was. But Clain Hoake swam like a man who needed to swim. And he did. Worse, he didn’t know who he was. All he knew was he couldn’t hold his breath forever. It was like he was at the bottom of a vast well.
Light showed ahead and he swam for it, down to the bottom, into a tunnel off the main “well.” He emerged into light and quickly broke the surface, gasping for air, trying to get the bearings he’d never lost before.
It was a vast underground grotto, a complex world of strange phosphorescence, cave systems, cliffs, and pools of water. If he didn’t know better, he’d swear it was the center of the Earth.
“It is the center of Earth!” A voice boomed off the walls.
“It’s… like you can read my mind,” exclaimed Clain.
“I can read your mind!” came the voice, which was becoming annoying. The figure stood on a rock projection, wearing a helmet covered in spark plugs. “I… am Dr. Bundolph Laig.” The man clapped his hands and immediately grotesque nightmare shapes surrounded Clain. “Meet my squidiots, as I call them.” The title fit; a strange evolution merging man and squid. Obviously of limited intelligence, they plodded to carry out Laig’s will.
Clain sampled food off the large shell on the stone table, seated on a living cushion that was some kind of mutated balloonfish. “What am I eating?” asked Clain in disgust.
“I farm everything from the sea so that is… something from the sea, I’m not sure — but it’s very good for you.” Laig went on to explain how he’d fled King Clam’s destruction, seeking refuge in a massive hole opened by the underwater earthquake. This led to the center of the Earth where he met his squidiots, commanding them to scuttle ships for lab equipment. Bitter revenge against humanity drove him now and he would soon unveil his greatest experiment of all.
Just then a warning sounded, which was actually an excited dolphin, and in the largest grotto pool something rose to the surface: a miniature submarine. A hatch opened and up popped Karsly Morbin and Captain Hemp Mavwell.
“Is this the center of Earth?” chirped Karsly.
“Well. What a pleasant coincidence. My old enemies. How nice of you to join me,” gloated Laig. Escorted by squidiots, the surprised pair were brought to Laig.
“I’m Clain Hoake and I don’t remember anything,” offered Clain helpfully.
“Aren’t you a famous canner?” asked Hemp.
Though it sounded familiar, Clain’s amnesia held. Karsly and Hemp had been investigating reports of missing lab equipment. They had their answer.
With great flourish, Dr. Laig revealed his masterpiece, the Funnelizer, which could create an underwater whirlpool that would lift up the horrors of the deep and rain them down on Coastal City to exact his revenge.
“Underwater whirlpool?” puzzled Hemp. “How can you see water if it’s in the water? I mean—”
“Silence!” shouted Laig, being anything but silent.
“What horrors?” wondered Karsly with scientific curiosity. “Your squidiots?”
Dr. Laig laughed heartily. “Come! You shall have a front-row seat.”
“Normally that would sound good to a sports fan like me,” said Hemp, “but this is one game I’d rather miss.”
The sub rose to the surface just off the coast of Coastal City. Laig readied a remote-control device while squidiots kept hold of Clain, Karsly, and Hemp.
“You won’t get away with this,” growled Clain, who seemed to remember it was the thing to say.
Laig grinned. “Behold!”
“Stop saying that,” said Karsly. “Why do you master villains always need an audience?”
“It appeals to the showman in me,” chuckled Laig. “I spent a formative summer helping out on puppet shows.” He flicked a switch and the ocean began to rumble. With explosive fury, bursting from its surface, came a funnel of water rising hundreds of feet into the air, carrying within every dreadful aquatic nightmare, spinning round and round.
“What hellish seafood is this?” barked Hemp with loathing.
Clain perked up… Seafood… Cannery… Canner…
Laig laughed, “The center of the Earth is lousy with things like this!”
Something clicked in Clain, who took advantage of the distraction and jumped into the sea. This time he swam like a swimmer with a memory. The memory of a canner.
“Let the fool go!” barked Laig to his squidiots. The funnel of water towered over the city. Laig hit a switch and it began to bend toward it.
Clain quickly reached shore and immediately warned the authorities. Above them, the massive head of the vortex was lowering to just above the rooftops. Evacuation was underway, and the National Guard quickly called in.
Hemp went for Laig’s remote and squidiots lunged, struggling to hold the rugged Navy man. But Karsly took advantage and snatched the remote from Laig’s evil grasp.
Meanwhile, Clain and National Guardsmen battled grotesque writhing sea life in the city streets: crustacean things with sharp stingers, sharks with legs, floating jellyfish horrors…
Before Laig could get the remote back, Karsly pulled a switch and immediately the funnel stopped releasing its monstrous rain of terror. Another flick, and the huge whirling mass began to draw back toward the ocean. Finally, Laig managed to grab the remote. But, unbeknownst to him, his squidiots watched their aquatic brethren being destroyed by Clain and the soldiers, and a sound almost like whimpering began to emerge from them. Before Laig could reverse the funnel again, the squidiots moved toward him as one.
“No! No! No, you squidiots! I warn you!” were his last words before his pathetic minions engulfed him, at last finding their self-respect.
The funnel of water returned to the ocean, with most of its sea life as well. Clain joined Karsly and Hemp on shore.
“Good to have our city back,” smiled Karsly.
“Good to have one canner back,” smiled Clain, looking off somewhere important.
We hit another Stretch Goal yesterday, unlocking a new Threat File! with a netful of expanded floating foes! Let's keep it up! Do it for Clain and Karsly!