by Professor Wilford Daggereaux PhD.
(recovered by Jim McDoniel)
With the current climate unpleasantness slowly taking away those areas suitable for Homo
sapien habitation, more and more, people are turning away from the planetary anomaly that
is land and focusing their attention on that element that makes up over seventy percent of the
earth’s surface: water. However, this itself brings with it its own set of problems. Some of them
are familiar to ones faced on land, the procurement of food, for example. Some, like dealing
with our current bout of super storms, may be difficult on land, but become epic battles for
survival at sea. Still others are wholly unique to life on the waves, as in the previously unheard
of issue of sea monster attack.
Now, the unexpected increase in violent nautical incursions by creature or creatures unknown
should hardly come as a surprise. The destruction of the oceans food supply along with the
influx of vulnerable, slow-swimming mammals can only result in more encounters with large
predatory animals that would have otherwise remained below the waves. If the only available
meal is on the surface, that is where the fanged and finned denizens of the deep will be, and
should this meat be guarded by wood and metal, then tearing apart that outer shell is what
they will. To them, it no more than hunting a turtle or shucking an oyster.
It must be said though, that this is not the most remarkable reason for attacks at sea,
psychologically speaking. There’s nothing unique about the odd mosasaur or sea serpent with
or without many heads, indulging their primal hunger. Nor is it particularly fascinating for a
newly rediscovered blind Cyclops or sheriff-thwarted great white to seek revenge. The interest,
therefore, lies in those creatures whose motives have remained, thus far, a mystery. I am
speaking of course, of the kraken or giant squid.
“Why does this matter?” you may ask, “They are, after all, only stupid beasts and one boat
looks very much like another.”
Herein lies the answer, for you see, the Kraken is not just a “stupid beast.” Like most
cephalopods of superior size, it has an intelligence equivalent to that of a young child. Not only
does this allow them to recognize boats and people it’s seen, or more likely using their suction
cups, taste, but we know that they actively avoid encounters with those who have harmed
them in the past. This combined with the fact that unlike aquatic reptiles and mammals,
cephalopods don’t have to come up for air, makes the efforts of so-called kraken hunters futile
and is why I have advised against such groups.
So why does a seemingly intelligent creature decide to drown a ship if not for food or defense?
The answer to this question can be found not in the deepest abyss but your child’s bathtub.
As previously stated, giant cephalopods have the intelligence around that of a three year
old child. Now, if you present a child of that age with a boat and access to water, you would
probably expect them to immediately begin floating the boat and playing pirate; that is, after
all, why you, an adult, bought the boat in the first place. The child, however, will not use the
boat as intended. What actually happens is that said child will dunk the boat underwater,
violently and repeatedly. Why? For the same reason a child does anything: because it’s fun.
And here rests the answer to the question of the kraken. If these giant squid are as intelligent
as small children, and small children sink ships because it is fun, then it stands to reason that
they, the giant squid, are also sinking ships because it is fun. This explains why so few people
are eaten and why so many are held aloft and rammed into one another or otherwise slammed
against the sides of rocks over and over.
This of course has little bearing on the actual problem of them attacking ships. If they do
it for fun, little more can be done for those afloat to defend themselves than has already
been undertaken. Those who have already taken up the call for ships setting sail to be more
drab and boring demonstrate little understanding for the greater cephalopods or children’s
entertainment. A quick trip to any carnival would, after all, show them that there is little more
amusing than the repetitive dunking of a boring person in water.
However, there was a time when giant squid, while most likely numerous, were mysterious
creatures rarely seen. They did not attack ships and could be found washed up on beaches or
near the ocean floor, never on the surface. So what has changed since those heady days when a
person could sail free of aquatic harassment?
Quite simply, there were whales. To be exact, there were sperm whales and these behemoths
kept the numbers of giant squid in check. As air breathing marine mammals, their very
presence on the surface discouraged the cephalopods from venturing to far from the depths
lest they wish to become a meal. Now, with the number of their only natural predator depleted
to the point of de jure if not de facto extinction, there is no hope of holding back the menace
that the kraken poses.
For this reason, I am inviting the best and brightest oceanographers, marine biologists, and
quantum physicists to join me in founding the Tempus Cetacea or Time Whale Society. Our goal
will be to turn the tide of the sea monster incursion on our oceans’ surfaces by reintroducing
whales, specifically sperm whales, to their original environment using mechanisms designed
to invoke change in the past. Using these “time machines,” we intend to reverse the extinction
brought on by eighteenth and nineteenth century whaling as well as twentieth and twenty-first
century Japanese “research” or, failing that, to transport a breeding population to our time,
where they can do some real good. It may take decades, centuries, millennia even, but I vow
that the Time Whale Society will not only endure, but work tirelessly to achieve our goal to
keep our oceans safe from the tyranny of the kraken’s “fun.” After all, time and the whale are
on our side.