The Abyss Calls


Podcast Episode 1: Breaching the Surface

A burst of static, followed by muffled white noise which plays in the background of the recording.

Veronica Lim: Begin audio file entry number 2549. This file is classified under Level 4 clearance and verification is required to proceed. Should you lack the required clearance, stop listening, and get back to work. Otherwise, higher Command will be notified and you will receive a very… stern warning. 

Automated Voice: Upon prompting, please enter your verification code.

A chime of beeps sounds, followed by the sounds of typing.

Automated Voice: Access granted.

After a few moments, VERONICA clears her throat and begins talking.

Veronica: This is Senior Researcher Veronica Lim, a marine biologist employed at the Oceanic Exploration Research Institute. This file contains information regarding the phenomenon discovered during Project Deeper-Sea.

Dark atmospheric music begins to play.

Veronica (CONT’): On the 19th of August, Year 2045, ocean expedition team ‘Aquanauts’ descended into the unexplored depths of the ocean, far beneath the Mariana Trench, the previously known deepest point of the Earth’s oceans. Aquanauts consisted of team captain Luna Ridley, Hong Daehyun, Alexis Noceda, Nathan Bloom, and Ishikawa Mio. The five of them descended together, but unfortunately, Ishikawa did not return. Her current status is unknown. However, I will do everything in my power to find her. I must.

Atmospheric music cuts out. There is silence for 3 seconds. Then suspenseful music plays. It is the podcast’s theme song. The audio fades to silence.

Veronica (VO): Interviewees, Luna Ridley, Hong Daehyun, Alexis Noceda, and Nathan Bloom. Interviewer, Veronica Lim. Begin log.


Veronica: Good evening everyone, I am Senior Researcher Veronica Lim, your interviewer for today. 

Luna Ridley: (tiredly) Good evenin’. 

Hong Daehyun: Mm.

Alexis Noceda: Nice to meet you!

Nathan Bloom: Evening.

Veronica: Alright. Let’s begin.

Ambient background music starts to play in the background. 

Veronica: The Aquanauts’ mission was to investigate the cavern at the bottom of the Mariana Trench, revealed after the Pacific submarine earthquake 3 years ago. Tell me, what were your findings?

Luna: The cave entrance was much larger than what we’d imagined. I estimate it was about a kilometre or two wide. I’d reckon 10 or more of our GP20 Subs could fit in there at once. When we entered, it was pitch black. We couldn’t see further than a few metres even with our brightest lights and night vision cameras. Daehyun used the sonar scanner to get a general visual of our surroundings.

Daehyun: The cave was a continuous tunnel. No new cave entrances whatsoever. It was strange, natural cave formations would never be this uniform.

The music becomes faster, more tense.

Alexis: So if the cave’s unnatural, what caused it to form like that?

Daehyun: (mildly agitated) Well I don’t know. A cave like that being natural – that’s impossible. Unless it was excavated through. But by what? There’s no way- 

The music comes to an abrupt halt just as VERONICA cuts in.

Veronica: Mr Hong, I’ll have to stop you there. We are getting off topic.

Daehyun: But I-

Nathan: Dude, that’s enough. Come on, we’ll talk about this later, okay?

Daehyun: …Right, sorry.

Rapid typing noises play as VERONICA takes notes on her laptop. They stop after a few seconds.

Veronica: Let’s continue. What happened after you entered? Anything of note?

Dark ambient music plays in the background.

Luna: It was strange. Once we’d made it out of the cave, we were out in the open ocean. There was nothing but water around us for a few kilometres. But after about twenty minutes of seeing nothing, we came across a number of entrances for new cave entrances. And by the looks of it, this one was far more complex. We went in for a closer look, and what do you know? Those weren’t cave systems at all. They were ancient underwater ruins. We were surprised. I can’t think of any way anyone would be able to build 11 500 metres below sea level.

Luna (CONT’D): When we inspected the cave entrances, we found that they were stone archways, each carved with unidentifiable glyphs. They looked like entrances to a temple. The arches were big enough to fit our GP20, so we were able to explore the inside. We entered a large, open space, with carvings on the walls just like those on the outer arches. The floor had an intricate pattern carved into it surrounded by more glyphs. 

Veronica: I see…

Luna: Further back, there were passageways too narrow for the GP20 to squeeze through, so I sent Mio out in the only High-Pressure ExoSuit we had on hand. 

Veronica: Alone? 

The music intensifies.

Luna: (subtly strained) She had the most ExoSuit training out of all of us. 

Alexis: A-And besides, those things cost a bomb to make! We only had enough in our budget for one and we trusted Mio the most to use it. 

Daehyun: And as an extra safety precaution, we sent a camera drone along with her.

Luna: While Mio was exploring, we took multiple samples, pictures, and recordings of the area. We made sure not to stray too far from the ruins, since we had to wait for her return. She was gone for close to 2 hours. At some point, we heard this… sound. 

Ambient music fades into an ominous, bass thrum.

Luna: It was unbearably loud, like a whale call, but much deeper, darker, and more distorted.

Alexis: It was so loud I could feel the vibrations in my bones. My ears were ringing for a long time after that.

Nathan: (shaken) That call sounded like it came from deep inside the ruins. Where Mio was. 

Daehyun: Nathan and I checked the status of Mio’s ExoSuit and the drones straightaway. We couldn’t get a clear reading. That noise seemed to have interfered with the signal. 

The music takes on a steady rhythm.

Luna: Then suddenly, the lights started flickering. I checked in on everyone, making sure they were okay. Daehyun and Nathan were working on locating Mio, and Alexis was stationed at the cameras. A few minutes had passed since the call began, but there was still no sign of Mio. 

Music quietens to a thin, tense noise.

Luna: Eventually, the call stopped. I was staring at the entranceways. Suddenly Mio shot out of the entrance, the camera drone lagging behind her and- And her left arm – It was gone. She looked terrified. Immediately, I sent Nathan to open the airlock so she could come inside, but then, before any of us could react, her body was flung back into the ruins. Like something pulled her in. 

Music softens, and fades into sombre music. LUNA breathes shakily.

Veronica: Luna, are you alright?

Luna: She was right there…

Alexis: Luna?

Luna: But I didn’t do anything. I sat there and watched her get taken away and I did nothing. 

Nathan: Luna, there was nothing we could do. 

Luna: No, there had to be something. I saw her coming out, I could have moved the submarine closer to her. I would reach out to her and pull her in- 

Nathan: Your arm would’ve been crushed!

Luna: But Mio would be safe. (shakily) I should have done something. What kind of captain lets their crewmate get taken away right before her eyes? Some leader I am. I let her… I let Mio die. 

Pregnant pause.

Alexis: (loudly) No! Mio’s not dead! 

Luna: She was bleeding out, there’s no way she could have survived-

Alexis: She’s alive. I know it. 

ALEXIS’ voice begins to tremble as she tears up.

Alexis: (sadly) She would never leave without saying goodbye. She promised. Mio’s alive out there. She is…

ALEXIS sobs.

Luna: (pained) She’s gone, Alex. She’s not coming back. 

Nathan: Err, we don’t know if Mio’s really gone for sure. I- I mean we only saw her get dragged down and uh- uh-

Veronica: Nathan. 

NATHAN stops talking. ALEXIS is sniffling hard. She speaks, interrupted by gasps from her crying.

Alexis: Mio’s out there, she’s gonna… She’s- 

She falls silent.

Veronica: (soft, sympathetic) I think now would be a good time to conclude this interview. Thank you, everyone, for your time. Please, take care of yourselves.

Advertisement starts playing.

Advertiser: This episode of The Abyss Calls was brought to you by CubeExpanse, the best place to get started on your very own website. CubeExpanse offers a wide range of options and tools to create your own personalised website. Set up your online store, blog, online portfolio or even a data archive! The possibilities are nearly endless! And best of all, these features are available to you for the low, low price of $5.99 a month! Use the code ABYSS for a month-long free trial of CubeExpanse. 

Advertisement music fades out.

Veronica: Hnnngh…

Chair creaking.

Veronica: Both the audio file and transcription are in order. 

VERONICA’s ceramic mug thumps against the table.

Veronica: (displeased) Hm, I’ve run out of coffee. Oh well.

Email notification ding.

Veronica: About time Daehyun sent the drone footage I requested. Let’s get to work. 

Rapid typing sounds which fade into VERONICA narrating what she types.

Veronica: Transcript of “Aquanauts” exploration footage, file code #2549M1O. Video feed begins. 

Ishikawa Mio: Connection to drone secured, audio log number one. I am Ishikawa Mio of Team Aquanauts. I will be recording my findings in this log.

Veronica: Ishikawa is shown in her ExoSuit, a form-fitting armoured bodysuit made to withstand high pressures and a wide range of temperatures. She speaks into a receiver inside her helmet. Oxygen from the tanks on her back is supplied into the helmet. She enters the narrow passageway into the ruins.

Underwater sounds, water gurgling, and gentle whirr of camera drones as they start up.

Mio: It is much darker inside the ruins than the outside.

Veronica: Ishikawa swims down the hallway for 15 minutes. She stops where the passage splits into three. One path leads forward, the other to the left, and the last one to the right.

Mio: First, I’ll head down the right path. I’ll explore the other two when I’m done.

Underwater exploration soundtrack plays. Water swishes as MIO swims.

Mio: There’s a dilapidated plaque on the wall. It’s inscribed with similar glyphs seen outside the ruins.

Veronica: The pathway widens. Ishikawa continues forward.

Mio: There’s something on the wall. 

Veronica: She picks up the drone and faces it towards the wall.

Mio: It looks like a mass of unknown substance growing from the cracks in the walls. 

Bubbles popping.

Mios: Bubbles just escaped from an orifice in the substance. I think it’s breathing. Interesting. Alex should take a look at this.

Drone whirring, the sound grows slightly distant.

Veronica: Ishikawa releases the drone. She continues forward. 

Mio: I’m seeing more of those unknown organisms the further I go in. They’re growing across the walls like mould. I should be getting close to its source.

Veronica: More instances of the unknown organism are seen covering parts of the walls, floor, and ceiling.

Bubbling sound. There is an imperceptible whispering.

Mio: Huh? 

Whispering stops.

Mio: Strange… I thought I heard something.

Fast forwarding whirr.

Mio: I’ve just entered a room about twenty metres long. There are five stone doors on both the east and west walls of the room, and there’s a large gate at the back from where I’m standing. 

Veronica: Ishikawa swims to the first door on the west wall and pushes.

Stone grates and grinds against stone. The sounds stop, and MIO breathes heavily.

Mio: No good. I’ll try the next door. 

MIO grunting and straining softly as VERONICA speaks.

Veronica: Ishikawa tries every door on both walls. None of them open. She has reached the final door on the east wall, which is the closest to the gate. 

Mio: (tired) Last door. Hrg!


Mio: Finally… 

Veronica: The door collapses into a pile of rubble when Ishikawa pushes it. She swims through the doorway. 

Swimming sounds. Background music switches to a slower, more spooky one.

Veronica: The chamber is in ruins, and is filled with dirt and rubble. Ishikawa moves to the centre of the chamber.

Mio: There’s a raised circular platform in the middle of the room. It’s covered in a thick layer of sediment. 

Sounds of wet dirt being scraped away. It is a moist, grainy sound.

Mio: Woah. A diagram is carved on the slab. It’s covered in arrows and symbols. I think I saw them on the gate. 

Swimming sounds, drone whirrs.

Veronica: Ishikawa swims out of the room and inspects the gate. The gate seems to be made of metal, and is fitted with a complex system of knobs, levers, and cranks, each labelled with a set of symbols. 

Mio: The symbols on the gate match the ones on the platform. Which means, the diagram is an instruction manual. 

Metallic clanks, creaks, and mechanical grinding noises with MIO’s grunts sprinkled in. Fast forwarding whirr.

Veronica: After twenty minutes, Ishikawa successfully unlocks the gate.

Gate creaks open noisily, muffled by seawater.

Mio: There’s a staircase going down. I can’t see where it ends. 

Veronica: Ishikawa descends.

Unsettling music supplemented with reverb bell sounds.

Mio: Oh- Oh my God. 

Veronica: Ishikawa arrives in a vast chamber with a diameter of approximately two hundred metres. The unknown biological mass pulsates with dim light. 

Mio: I wasn’t expecting this. 

Music transitions to an ominous ambient soundtrack.

Mio: The walls are completely covered with glyphs. A vault door about a hundred metres wide is set in the floor. It’s secured by giant metal chains. What could be in there?

Swimming sounds.

Mio: These crystals… There are 6 of them along the circumference of this room, probably three or four metres tall. They’re floating and slowly rotating on top of stone podiums. 

Veronica: Ishikawa swims toward one of the crystals, which glows dimly green. She places her hand on its surface.

Crystal emits low thrum.

Mio: It lit up where my hand touched… It’s vibrating?

Music stops. The remaining 5 crystals start humming. Then, a deafening, sonorous scream erupts from within the vault.

Mio: What’s happening!?

Glitching and static noises, and a short-circuiting sound.

Veronica: Visuals are now corrupted.

Loud rumbling. Thrum gradually stops.

Veronica: The crystals lose their remaining glow. The cameras malfunction and all visual feed is lost. Only audio capabilities remain.

Mio: Shit. I gotta get out of here!

The cry continues. Dynamic chase music plays. MIO is breathing heavily.

Mio: S-Something’s grabbing my arm! Let go- 

Tendons snapping and flesh tearing.


MIO lets out a blood-curdling scream.

Mio: Ahhh… ah… 

Heavy breathing.

Mio: (strained) I gotta get out of here… 

Whooshing through water, whirring of drone engine.

Mio: Can’t this suit make me go faster?

Whooshing intensifies.

Mio: Come on, come on! 

The cry fades out. MIO breathes hard.

Mio: Almost… there…

MIO’s heartbeat pounding.

Mio: (exhausted) I’m out.. I’m out! T-The sub’s right there. Just a little further-

Sound of tendril tightening, all other sound stops.

Mio: Huh? 

Whooshing sound of water as MIO is yanked back into the ruins.

Luna: (distant) MIO, NO!

Alexis: (distant) MIOOOOOO!

Distressed yells from the distance.

Luna: S-Snap out of it! Disconnect the drone from her suit, now! And bring it back in!

Daehyun: C-Captain, the drone is secured!

Luna: Good. Nathan, set the course for HQ. We’re going home. 

Submarine propellers roaring, beeping noises. Sound cuts off abruptly.

Veronica: Recording ends.

Sombre transition music.

Veronica: That room, could it be…? I have to check.

Automated Voice: This file is classified under Level 5 clearance. Verification is required to proceed. 

Typing sounds as VERONICA enters the password to classified files, followed by an electronic chime.

Automated Voice: Access granted. 

Veronica: There it is… Everything adds up. That room with the chained up vault, that’s the entrance to the tomb. The glyphs are the seal, and the humming crystals are the “singers of the silent lullaby”? Oh. Oh no.

VERONICA clicks. Tense music begins playing.

Veronica: According to the last lines of Erthwan’s Scroll… it says, “Should the lullaby’s melody ever reach man’s ears, the serpent will begin to wake. Calamity draws near.” Oh Mio… What have you done?

Tense music stops. Phone vibrates.

Veronica: Hello? This is Dr. Veronica Lim speaking. Yes, I’ve uploaded it to the database. About that sir… I’m afraid I have terrible news. We have to initiate Procedure 116. Leviathan has awoken.  

Ending music plays and fades out.

Eunice Lau (Class of 2023) is dreaming about new stories to bring to life. Dreams don’t always come true, but if they did, she would like to write for a video game some day.