The hour of darkness was upon them. The storm clouds above turned to a sinister blue-grey and cold droplets of rain fell upon their faces. Meanwhile the sea grew angrier by the minute, and waves crashed and exploded against the hull of the VS Jade 4 with increasing force.
At this stage, perhaps half of the combined crew of the VS Rosanne 7 and the VS Jade 4 had escaped to the lifeboats and were currently battling their way to the safety of the distant shoreline. Unfortunately their evacuation had not been hasty enough, and to everyone’s dismay they heard a crying voice from the portside. “Shadow in the water!” it called. “Shadow in the water…” The man was cut off when a tentacle shot up and dragged him into the sea.
With not enough men to man the heavy weapons, those left on board resorted to taking up rifles and firing freely at the sinister eye that once again loomed above them. But for all their efforts, it was not enough. Captain O’Brien watched in horror as the man beside him was bashed helplessly into the deck, and then another man was impaled on one of those terrible barbs. And then the monster’s two arms rose above in unison and drove their metal spears into the bulk of the ship’s bridge – tearing all the way down to the fuel supply and setting the back end of the ship ablaze in bright roaring flame.
The VS Jade 4 was lost – broken apart by the sheer destructive ferocity of Specimen Zero. Realising this, the captain was forced to retreat with the rest of his men to the final lifeboat, and setting it down into the ravaging vigour of the sea, he did not look back as he fled the shame of his utter defeat.
There the deck of the ship was left abandoned, and all souls were gone save for one. In the darkness under the sky, as the rain plummeted down to mask his tears, and the seas roared to extinguish his cries, Charles Vandenberg stood alone before the very thing that he had sworn to protect, and in his hand was the instrument of its demise. He raised his head and glared into its savage eye. “Oh, my beloved creation!” he began to scream, but his voice was swallowed up by the wind. “Look at the demon that you have become! How can I bear my eyes to look upon such a creature of evil given life by my own hands?” He looked down at his hands, and the device was clutched firmly in his fingers. “We are both monsters, I’m afraid. I never meant for this to happen to you! It was never supposed to go so far! I wanted life! All I ever wanted was life! For the betterment of mankind, don’t you see?” The ship was suddenly rocked by an oncoming wave and Vandenberg fell to his knees. He stared again at the device. “I am so sorry! Please, I beg for your forgiveness! Let me know that some part of you still understands the light that was clouded by the shadow of evil!” But his beloved Specimen Zero made no move, no indication of empathy or understanding – it glared down at him with its massive eye. Vandenberg’s hands trembled and he could no longer take the anguish. “So be it…”
He activated the transmission and a violent jolt seized the monster’s body. It grasped the half-destroyed ship with enhanced fury, and as it delivered the final blow upon its master, it was brought to a quick but brutal death from the inside.
The last that was ever heard from the revered Charles Vandenberg was the feint echo of a scream that was heard by none other than Elsie Heartwing. From the boats that neared the safety of land, the devastation still plagued them and it would continue to do so for the rest of their mortal lives. With a pounding heart Elsie glared back towards the burning ship, and watched in horror and the infernal monster was at last dragged helplessly back into the sea.ns 22.214.171.124da2