You can call me... well, the Squid Hunter I suppose. It’s a long and boring story which I can’t really be bothered to tell you; so it’ll try and keep this short. Basically, after a huge expedition up north, my airships where attacked and completely obliterated. By Pirates? No, think more biological, think... tentacle. You’d be close if you said Air Krakens, but if that was the case I wouldn’t be here to tell the tale now would I! The culprit was in fact a close relative though; giant sky squids. Usually a rather peaceful creature which under normal circumstances stays well away from roaring airships. I still wonder why those squid attacked us. Perhaps it knew the dark intentions I had in store for them. That they somehow sensed that I was coming. Coming to capture those flying beasts.
Let me explain what I do. After spending a year with the nomadic sky tribe of Northern Scandinavia, I witnessed many wondrous things; things you only hear of in legends. But the one thing that interested me most was the sky Cephalopods. Apparently these people have been living peacefully alongside them for generations. It is the squids that gave them the gift of hydrogen; the means to live free in the untamed sky. Don’t even ask me how I tracked down this tribe, for that’s a completely different story. Anyway, the tribe respect the squids like Gods. Something you’d expect for such uncivilised people. They failed to understand the poetical these squids have.
For you see, I’m an entrepreneur, an industrialist, a visionary. And I have big... big plans for these squids. With the ever rising number airships in our skies, the cost of hydrogen will ultimately rise too. What if I was to capture and somehow farm these squids? I’d have an unlimited supply of hydrogen which I could sell far lower than any of my competitors. I’d control the whole bloody industry! Imagine it, every airship filled with my squid brand hydrogen. I’d make billions. Entire countries will come to me for hydrogen. And it doesn’t stop there. What if I could somehow keep the hydrogen producing organ alive inside the airship? Pilots would never have to land. Airship would have complete freedom. Of course, this technology can’t be sold to the public as I’d lose my hydrogen monopoly, but I’d make billions selling to the military. Hell, I could build a city in sky even!
So now you see the potential. The sky tribe however could not. They say the squids are sacred, that they have “powers”. They warned that if I trifled with the squids then “bad thing will happen” oooOOOooo, I’m so scared. Naturally I was banished from the tribe, but that wouldn’t stop capturing the squids. After a couple of years getting funds and the like, I managed to build a sort of prototype facility... if you like. I suppose you could call it “the farm in which the squids will be held and the hydrogen extracted” facility. Hmmmm, name needs improvements. Anyway, the method of extraction is called “tapping”. It involves piercing the squid’s envelope and removing the hydrogen, all without killing the beast. This way when the squid replenishes it’s hydrogen we can repeat the process again, rather like milking cattle I suppose, exctpt it’s completely different. However, my science team will be working on a way of removing the squid all together, leaving just the hydrogen producing organ.
The facility is small at the moment, but this soon to change when the number of squid increases. Also, when we have enough squid, we can make the facility airborne! Not sure what the advantages that will have, but it’ll sure as hell be cool! Anyway, all this is just theory until I actually capture some squid.
It was a man called Matthew Dadelszen who agreed to lead the expedition. We took north 6 airships, each specially designed to hold a sedated squid. It was important the squid remain alive. Many explorers have searched for them – the squid, but all come back empty handed. The location is a mystery, many still question they’re existence. I knew that to find the squid, you have to find someone who’s already found them... if that makes sense. So yeah, in the modern world, only I know the exact location of sky squid. We thought that this was going to be a walk in the park. Capture squid, go home, and make billions. I still remember the crew. Happy optimistic bunch. Many had never seen a sky squid before; not up close anyway. They’ve all heard the legends, seen shapes in the sky, but nothing even remotely close to this. Little did they know that that the squid where going to be the last thing ever they saw.
We were armed with modified whaling equipment, nets and the like; it was standard practice I suppose, no one predicted that we should have come with cannons and machine guns. I guess I’ve already told you what happened. We got destroyed. The squid came at us like daemons; ripping apart the airships envelopes as if they where tissue paper. I had no idea they could behave in this manner. 29 lives were lost that day. I and 5 others survived. We lasted no more than 15 minutes.
How did I survive I hear you ask? Well many actually died on impact when the airships crashed; some landed in the sea, others on the frozen waste lands. My airship luckily went down quite slowly, but with no means of communicated with the rest of the world; all this meant was that we were doomed to a slow icy death. Well that would have been the case had not a squid come to investigate the crash site. We retreaded back into the wreckage, trying to remain as still as possible. The squid didn’t notice us, or perhaps didn’t acknowledge us. Perhaps the squid thought it was the airships that where the threat and not us. Foolish creature.
It was a lone squid, quite young in fact, probably left the group out of curiosity. However, I guess no one taught it “curiosity killed the cat”. It came down quite low, almost touching the ground. Very agile creature; the air is clearly their element. You’ve got to admire the grace and beauty of these creatures, but in this case there was no time for that. We can admire it when it’s dead. The hunting equipment (which was useless against fast moving targets) was all relatively intact. This was slow, picking up wreckage, studying it, putting it back where it found it; the complete opposite of what just attacked us. We aimed the harpoon at its head. It was crucial it was a direct hit. If we where to ever escape from this icy wasteland, the squid’s envelope must remain intact.
I gave the orders. 3 other harpoon where launched over the top of the squid to keep the creature from floating off. Before it had time to react, a 4th harpoon was deployed. This one plunged deep into the beasts necked like a knife into rubber. I feared that the beast wouldn’t have enough hydrogen to lift us back into the sky, but luckily as a defence mechanism, the squid inflated itself as an instinctive means of escape. Turns out the hydrogen organ can keeps on working for a short while after death.
It was odd seeing this rising dead creature, a creature once free, but now trapped in metal and canvas, bound to the directions in which we wished to travel. The ends of the harpoon where already tied to what was left of the airships hull. Incredibly it didn’t take much damage on impact. The squids only really attacked the envelopes.
Once in the sky the lads got to work modify the carcase, making it air worthy and the like. I drew a picture of the airship, and of the young squid. Too bad it creature wasn’t alive; it’s useless to me dead.
Those men did not die in vain. I will go back; but this time prepared. I need military style airships, with stronger envelopes and heavy weaponry. In the first trip I in need ablest 6 specimens. We can kill any that get in our way. If all goes to plan I’ll consider signing a contract with you, putting you permanently in charge of the squid hunting operation.
So who’s with me? Anyone here up to the challenge? Oh, and don’t think you won’t go unrewarded. I will cover the costs, and as a way of payment well... make me an offer. And don’t think you can do this alone. Only I know the location of giant sky squid, and even if you manage to find the sky tribe, thanks to me they no longer interact with the outside world.